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The city of San Francisco couldn’t find a good trash can for its streets. So it designed its own

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The perfect garbage can is surprisingly hard to find, and Beth Rubenstein has spent a lot of time looking. As deputy director of policy and communications for the city of San Francisco’s Department of Public Works, she’s been trying to find a good trash can to replace the city’s aging inventory of more than 3,000 sidewalk garbage receptacles. But not just any can will do. To withstand the hard life of a city trash can—vandalism, rummaging, repeated unloading, jammed holes, and rusted hinges—the ideal replacement would need to hit a range of requirements. The ideal replacement, Rubenstein realized, did not exist. “We didn’t find an off-the-shelf can that addressed all those criteria,” she says.

[Image: courtesy SFDPW]So the city set out to design a better solution. In consultation with various city departments, the city’s contracted garbage hauler, and industrial design firm the Institute for Creative Integration, the city has unveiled three prototype designs for a new city trash can. They balance ease of use, ease of unloading, durability of locks and hinges, and an integrated system for automatically detecting when they’re getting full. With an estimated per-can production cost of between $2,000 and $3,000, the three prototypes may be as close to perfect as San Francisco can get.

Now, the city’s Department of Public Works has just started a 60-day trial period to........

© Fast Company

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