District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney and Recology officials Wednesday morning announced a pilot project designed to keep trash inside blue recycling bins and off Tenderloin streets and sidewalks.

A move to lock recycling bins move comes on the heels of Haney’s call for additional 24-hour public bathrooms and implementation of a weekly sidewalk pressure washing schedule, all efforts to clean up streets in his district.

For two weeks now, merchants in the Tenderloin have been using recycling bins with locking mechanisms that can only be unlocked by merchants and trash collectors.

The “super bins” are designed to prevent people from digging into bins and trash from spilling onto streets when they are knocked over, officials said.

Haney claims most of the street trash originally comes from inside containers residents put out for collection.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay Recology’s Operations Supervisor for the Tenderloin Kareen Saber explains how the new locked recycling bins work at a press conference in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, December 4, 2019.

Haney said:

“One of things that you’ll see as you go out and walk around this neighborhood is you’ll see a lot of trash that’s on the ground that used to be in a bin.”

He said merchants and neighbors asked him to find an innovative solution to keep trash in bins and off the streets and believes the new locked bins will do that:

“This super bin is going to make huge strides in doing that.”

Haney’s office said that if the effort is successful, a second phase could result in an additional 1,000 locking recycling bins throughout the neighborhood.

Kareem Saber, Recology operations supervisor in the Tenderloin, said the new bins are heavier and reinforced with steel hinges to prevent theft.

Merchants have attempted to secure containers with their own master locks, but Saber said sometime merchants forget to lock them and that people are still able to break locks or rip off entire lids off.

Recology’s Regional Vice President Jon Porter said in a statement he hopes the new bins serve the needs of the community.

Porter said:

“We are working closely with Supervisor Haney and San Francisco Public Works, and we are going to give these two pilots a good test. If they work well, we hope to expand these programs to other high-traffic corridors in the City.”

Depending on the test results, Recology could expand the locking bin program to other commercial corridors by the second half of next year.

Additionally, Saber said Recology will revise pickup schedules for customers on every block in the neighborhood.

Saber said:

“Starting Dec. 16, we’re going to have a two- to three-hour service window in which we’ll be serving the customers of the Tenderloin.”

Officials said the new schedule will give customers a better idea of pickup times and will reduce time bins are left out 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 jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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