UPDATE: Baltimore residents may now choose between a small or large trash can under the $9 million program that will provide every household with a garbage bin, according to city officials. The "large" option will remain as the original 65-gallon can, while the "small" option will be a 35-gallon can.
The decision to allow residents to chose the bin size comes after some residents expressed concerns that 65-gallon bins will be too big for their property space. In order to receive a smaller bin, residents must make a request by Feb. 19. Later requests may not qualify.
- Baltimore is investing about $9 million to supply every city household with 65-gallon trash cans with wheels, tight-fitting lids, and RFID tracking devices. As the property of Baltimore City, they are intended to control rats, reduce theft and prevent sanitation worker injuries as they will be lifted by an automatic arm on the trucks.
- North Carolina-based supplier Schaefer Systems International will deliver the cans early in 2016.
- The "smart trash can" plan follows a 2014 pilot program that provided heavy duty trash cans to 9,000 households. The initial pilot showed that calls for rat extermination dropped nearly 75%, while the number of worker injuries also dropped, though Baltimore’s Public Works Department later adjusted that figure to 26% according to Brew.com — following a discrepancy in the original figure and number of citizen calls.
These upgraded receptacles are a relatively new idea and a costly one. There has been no definitive decision announced on whether residents will pay a fee or whether the initiative will be financed through a city fund.
The truck fleet will require automated arm lifters so sanitation workers can leverage them as intended, costing at least $400,000, according to Public Works director Rudolph Chow.
However, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said better rodent control will translate to less money invested in the city’s rat eradication program and in fewer worker compensation claims by DPW workers.
The City of Baltimore has been making strides with efforts to keep the city clean. In October, Rawlings-Blake announced a new initiative called "Clean Corps," which will rely on residents to make pledges to keep the city clean through door-to-door campaigns and organized block-wide cleanups.