News & Politics

San Francisco Considers Spending $20K Per Can to Fix Garbage Issue

(Image via San Francisco Public Works)

San Francisco has a problem with poor, starving homeless people rooting around in the city’s garbage cans looking for another meal and salvation for another day.

But the homeless need to be taught that only the city government in its infinite goodness should be relied upon for salvation. So the city is looking to swap out the garbage cans to make them more secure so the homeless won’t disturb or purloin the valuable contents.

If the city were as concerned about people breaking into residences as they are about the homeless breaking into garbage cans, San Francisco might be an almost livable city.

The city is dead serious about this secure garbage can idea. The public works department has developed a pilot program to determine which sort of garbage can will work best. They estimate that the program will cost between $12,000 and $20,000 per trash receptacle — about $537,000 for 15 trash cans.

That $20K is just for the outer shell. The inner bins will have to be custom-made. Public Works acting director Alaric Degrafinried told ABC7, “They’re going to be made here in San Francisco on a one-by-one basis, so there is a lot of manual labor that goes into that cost.”

The stainless steel cans will also contain a high-tech sensor that will let the department know when it needs to be emptied and “to make sure we are going to send people where the work is needed,” said Degrafinried.

But why this relatively large expenditure for garbage cans?

“They pick the lock, they dump the whole can on the street and then sort through the things they want while the garbage is either on the sidewalk or out on the street,” Degrafinried explained.

Oh, my word! Garbage in the streets of San Francisco? Who’d a thunk it?

The Department of Public Works deserves some kind of award for garbage can design. There are three designs to be considered, each more modern-looking and attractive than the next.

There’s the “Salt and Pepper” design, where the cans look just like salt and pepper shakers. What it will be filled with won’t be quite as appetizing.

The “Slim Silhouette” design, according to the DPW website, “allows more sidewalk space for pedestrians, while still allowing ample room to discard trash and recyclables.” So it has that going for it. Also, the “single-sided access and the chute-shaped trash opening make rummaging more difficult” so the homeless can’t mess up the city streets.

The final design under consideration is the “Soft Square” receptacle — the only one of the three that looks like an actual garbage can.

What does it say about a city that won’t hire more police to stem the violent crime wave but will spend a half-million dollars to beautify and secure its trash cans?

Unreal.