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Getting smart on trash collection

Pittsburgh is planning to expand its use of sensor-enabled trash cans after a successful pilot program using the technology.

By next year, the city expects to have 1,281 trash cans outfitted with sensors that measure how full the can is. These sensors notify the city when a can needs to be emptied, which the city said uses Department of Public Works employees’ time more efficiently.

"We are reducing the time it takes to service litter cans currently by about 30 to 50 percent,  which would amount to at least 15,000 hours of staff time that could be redeployed to other work within the department," said DPW Director Mike Gable.

In addition to improvements in operational efficiency and service, the monitoring software allows DPW to collect data to measure the performance of receptacles throughout the city. The data collected will lead to location optimization, consistent collections and inventory improvements, city officials said. 

Pittsburgh plans on entering a four-year contract with Victor Stanley Inc. for both the hardware and software required to make the sensor system operational.

Smart trash cans were also part of Washington, D.C.’s  PA2040 initiative that is working to place  more smart-city technology on the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor.

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a reporter/producer at GCN.

Before joining GCN, Leonard worked as a local reporter for The Smithfield Times in southeastern Virginia. In his time there he wrote about town council meetings, local crime and what to do if a beaver dam floods your back yard. Over the last few years, he has spent time at The Commonwealth Times, The Denver Post and WTVR-CBS 6. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received the faculty award for print and online journalism.

Leonard can be contacted at mleonard@gcn.com or follow him on Twitter @Matt_Lnrd.

Click here for previous articles by Leonard.


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