Baltimore Rolls Out Smart Trash Cans

The city will spend $15 million to deploy 4,000 sensor-equipped trash receptacles that will increase collection efficiency.

by / January 29, 2018
Baltimore to spend $15 million to deploy some 4,000 smart trash receptacles. Shutterstock
Sanitation workers in Baltimore worried about overflowing garbage cans can rest a little easier. Soon, the cans will let them know if they are need of emptying.
 
Baltimore is moving forward on a $15 million project to deploy some 4,000 smart trash receptacles across the city, starting with 150 bins in the South Baltimore Gateway/Casino area.
 
“The cans come with Wi-Fi; we will utilize this capability to allow the can to transmit information including how full it is so we can offer as-needed servicing of the cans,” said Jeffrey Raymond, chief communications spokesman for the Baltimore Department of Public Works.
 
The solar-powered trash receptacles are being manufactured by Ecube Labs, which has offices in Los Angeles and South Korea. The company will install its CleanCUBE bins across Baltimore in three stages.
 
“In subsequent phases, we would deploy cans in the city's business districts and at bus stops,” said Raymond.
 
“We strongly believe that Ecube Labs’ technology will increase the city’s waste collection efficiency tremendously, as one CleanCUBE is just as effective as six traditional trash receptacles that are already out on Baltimore’s streets,” said Michael Son, chief financial officer of Ecube Labs, in a statement.
 
The city is also exploring other approaches at tidying up Baltimore and is exploring the installation of a “trash wheel,” a device designed to capture garbage from streams “before it can enter the water south of downtown,” said Raymond.
 
The smart trash can project in Baltimore is not unlike other smart city public works projects taken on by other cities. Boston has its BigBelly Solar trash receptacles and Santa Clarita, Calif., has similar solar-powered self-compacting bins.
 
Last year, Baltimore introduced smart water meters, in a move to reduce the number of disputed water bills. The meters are wirelessly connected and closely monitor a home’s use and serve as an early warning indicator of leaks or other swings in water consumption.
 
Baltimore was also the recipient of a $40,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant in 2016 to deploy about 250 air monitors across the city, in a project being led by Johns Hopkins University, known as Open Air Baltimore. The wirelessly connected sensors offer a window into air-quality at small neighborhood levels.
Skip Descant Staff Writer

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Sacramento.