Pittsburgh Installs 1200 Smart Litter Cans, Improves Efficiency

The City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has installed more than 1,200 smart litter cans as part of an effort to cut costs and improve efficiency in trash collection.

“Based on our analysis, we expect that the smart litter cans will give us the ability to make process improvements that will reduce the amount of labor hours spent on emptying garbage cans by at least half,” said Matt Jacob, the project manager for the program for the Department of Innovation and Performance. “As a result, DPW will be able to reallocate those resources to other tasks.”

The smart cans have sensors that continuously monitor fill level, weight, system temperature, container location, and collection status and then alert the city’s Department of Public Works when they need to be emptied. The cans were purchased from Victor Stanley which also provided its Victor Stanley Relay™ management system that uses wireless communications and a dedicated web portal for access to container conditions. The management system can also aid in determining the most efficient routes for collection.

The city earmarked a total of $670,000 for smart can purchases, covering both entirely new cans and lids with sensors to retrofit existing cans. The city and Victor Stanley have published a case study: The City of Pittsburgh Modernises Their Waste Collection Process While Combating Climate Change.

“The smart cans allow DPW to offer better refuse services to Pittsburgh residents and neighborhood business districts, while freeing up our workers to do other work to keep the city tidy,” DPW director Mike Gable said.