Castro trash bins keep garbage in — and people out


San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell was talking trash Thursday in the Castro — five new “smart” garbage bins that prevent people from digging through their contents and causing a mess on the streets.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy and community leaders joined Farrell to welcome the new trash receptacles.

Farrell said:

“We have a big appetite to clean up our streets and San Francisco residents do as well and now today we are going to have some big bellies to help us in the effort.”

The new trash bins, called “Bigbelly,” can hold five times more trash than a normal trash bin because they include automated trash compactors to make room, said Farrell.

Other new features of the Bigbelly bins include a place for people to throw away cigarette butts, and a step lever to hold open the trash bin without having to touch the handle.

The solar-powered bins will be harder to pick through because the bin opens and closes like a postbox. The new bin also prevents from trash being blown out of the bin.

A mobile app can tell trash collectors if the trash bin is full, so they can avoid making unnecessary trips.

Sandra Zuniga, director of The City’s Fix-It team which addresses quality of life issues in neighborhoods, said:

“Today’s announcement is part a larger strategy that Fix-It has to make improvements in neighborhoods based on what we hear about from residents.”

Zuniga said if something works in one neighborhood the team can replicate it throughout The City.

The Fix-It team plans to install five Bigbelly trash bins in Central Market, Civic Center Tenderloin neighborhoods in partnership with Community Benefit Districts.

Andrea Aiello, executive director of the Castro CBD, said the Bigbellys really do work:

“… Because once you put the trash in, you can’t take the trash out and that includes limiting and really preventing overflowing trash cans.”

The efforts of the new trash bins are part of Farrell’s plan to make The City’s streets cleaner during remaining time as mayor.

Last month Farrell committed an additional $12.8 million for street cleaning in his two-proposed budget and announced a rapid response team to clean up used needles littered on streets.


Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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