New high tech Big Belly trash cans introduced to help clean up San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Remember when President Trump took aim at San Francisco, describing the streets as disgusting? Many San Franciscans agreed with him. Things have slowly improved and now the mayor's office has started to install state-of-the-art smart trash stations across the city.

Let's be honest -- all too often, people assume that their trash is someone else's problem. It's been proven that the farther away you are from a trash can, the more likely you are to litter.

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With that in mind, City Hall has taken another approach to cleaning up city neighborhoods.

"I want to hug this, thank you," expressed Acting Mayor Vallie Brown as she embraced the new smart trash receptacle.

With Mayor London Breed enjoying some time off, Supervisor Brown introduced them in an attempt to change bad habits.

Each is solar-powered and, using sensors, it can compact trash automatically as it begins to fill up. This way, it holds up to three times the amount of garbage, hence the name -- Big Belly.

"When it gets totally full, it notifies Recology and notifies anyone with the app and they come out here and pull it out and dump it, it's really quick," explained Paris Carthen, operations manager.

One thing those Big Bellies eliminate is the ability to scavenge for trash through a garbage can, which eventually ends up on the ground.

"You can't get in them so you don't have the case where someone is going through all the garbage and then they leave it all over. That's the complaint we hear all the time," said Brown.

That also means that people who collect recyclables will have to find them elsewhere.

There were so many complaints from neighbors and businesses in Japantown that the community obtained four of these new receptacles.

"Maybe when people see it, it starts a domino effect," expressed Grace Horikiri of the Japantown Community Benefit District.

City Hall now plans to install 80 Big Bellies throughout San Francisco, a collaboration between neighborhoods and the city.

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