PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — To allocate more time and resources to patching potholes and picking up litter, the city has set up smart garbage cans that can track how full they are.

More than 1,000 public garbage bins with sensors indicating their fullness have been deployed citywide, according to the city’s communications director, Timothy McNulty.

Smart garbage cans with old cans in foreground. (Credit Courtesy: City of Pittsburgh Department of Innovation & Performance)

McNulty says the Department of Public Works proposed the idea in 2017 after recognizing smart cans would be a cost-efficient alternative to hundreds of old garbage cans in the city that needed to be replaced.


The new cans will cut the time workers spend emptying public garbage bins by at least half, according to studies by both Public Works and the Department of Innovation and Performance.

“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,” Public Works director, Mike Gable, said.

McNulty also says that increased weekend garbage collection in business districts could be in the future. The Department of Public Works is currently in talks with labor unions regarding the matter.