$20,000 trash cans could soon pop up in San Francisco

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The cost to produce a prototype of a new trash can in San Francisco is turning a few heads.

KRON4 spoke with the acting director of SF Public Works who defends the cost because he says it is more than just a trash can.

A $20,000 prototype of a trash can in the shape of a salt shaker. It is one of three new designs approved by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. 

Acting director of SF Public Works, Aleric Degrafinried explains the reason for the $20,000 price tag for each prototype.

“When we are going to produce the prototypes that is going to be done on a manual basis. These are not going to be done on an assembly line type of production. It’s just a different process. Therefore the cost per can is going to be a lot more,” Aleric Degrafinried said. 

DPW officials say actually when it is time to mass-produce and replace San Francisco’s 3,000 trash cans the cost will be more like $2,000 to $4,000 each.

“This is a different way to manage trash,” Degrafinried said. 

There are smartphones, smartwatches, smart cars, and now a smart trash can. These cans are equipped with sensors that will alert public works that the can is full. 

He says that will reduce overflow.

“I am excited to be able to introduce the city of San Francisco to what I am hoping to be the best can out there,” Degrafinried said. 

“I think this was an absurd decision for them to decide to design their own trash can,” Supervisor Matt Haney said. 

Not so excited about the cost and the three years it took to come up with the design is San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney.

“For me, this is more reflective of bad management at the department of public works. A lack of oversight. A corrupt department head from a few years ago and here we are with essentially a decision to put out prototypes that are very expensive but also reflect years of work and rejecting them at this point is not going to make our streets cleaner,” Supervisor Haney said. 

Supervisor Haney is in the process of meeting with DPW officials hoping to get the price reduced before bringing the item to the full board of supervisors for a vote which is scheduled to happen next week.

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