SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The City of San Francisco is piloting several new trash can models in an effort to replace the current public trash receptacles in the city, which are about 20 years old, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Works. The city is seeking the public’s input in deciding from among six different models.

The Public Works department collaborated with the Bay Area industrial designers at the Institute for Creative Integration (ICI) in 2020 and narrowed the design for the city’s new trash can to three final concepts. These concepts were then transformed into 15 prototypes to be tested on the street. There are also three off-the-shelf commercial models being considered.

Prototypes of the six different next generation public trash cans have been placed on the street around town for real-life testing. There will be five cans of each of the custom designs and three to four cans of each of the off-the-shelf models dispersed across the city.

The city has provided a survey on its website for people to offer their feedback.

Here is a map of where the prototypes have been placed.

These are the prototypes the city is considering.

Salt & Pepper

Salt & Pepper features a “unique” profile intended to stand out from afar, making it easily distinguishable for someone looking to discard items. The silhouette is intended to denote two separate refuse areas, with cans and bottles for redemption exchange above and trash below. It’s got welded steel fins attached to ribs to provide a durable frame and to deter graffiti. It also features a shroud to minimize the size of items that can be discarded in it.

Slim Silhouette

The Slim Silhouette has a slim side profile that, according to the public works website, “allows more space on the sidewalks for people to move about freely while clearly presenting discard options on the front face for trash and recycle exchange.” It’s also single-sided and chute-shaped which is intended to make rummaging more difficult. It’s constructed from stainless steel pipe which makes it easier to clean and reduces the available space for graffiti.

Soft Square

The Soft Square “keeps an identifiable trash can silhouette while bringing the aesthetic into the 21st century,” according to the public works website. It’s comprised of four curved panels, has an adjustable base and domed top. There’s an intentional gap separation between panels to allow for integration of components, including foot pedal and hinge. The Soft Square features openings for trash and bottles/cans behind a front hopper door, for a clean appearance.


The BearSaver can accommodate a custom-made vinyl graphic design and has four vertical sides. There is also an option to add a recycling receptacle. It’s one of four commercial models the city is piloting and is manufactured by Securr.

Ren Bin

The Ren Bin is another commercial model that’s manufactured by Victor Stanley.

Open Wire Mesh

The Open Wire Mesh model is manufactured by Global Industries.

Crews from Public Works began installing the prototypes around the city this week. If you’d like to provide feedback, or find out more about the SF Trash Can Pilot, visit the SF Public Works online.