San Francisco is spending a fortune to design public trashcans, which will cost $5,000 a can

San Francisco, we salute you. The city has chosen not to use any of the thousands of time-tested garbage can models available from manufacturers to replace their existing, no-longer-desirable public trashcans. This city will not accept bland, inexpensive-but-functional waste containers available from manufacturers; instead, it is insisting on a custom trashcan fit for the used hypodermic needles and Hashiri containers discarded every day by their residents. San Francisco officials are insisting that the city's new trashcans must be architecturally pleasing, and fit the aesthetic of the city by the bay.

Mission Local reports that the Board of Supervisors voted to approve paying an industrial design firm $427,500 to design and fabricate 15 prototypes of various trash can designs costing $12,000 to $20,000 apiece. The project is 2.5 years old with no end in sight.

From Mission Local:

This is a story examining San Francisco's bizarre pursuit of the perfect trash can: the time it has taken, the stunning amount of money being spent, and the baffling lack of curiosity on the part of many of San Francisco's elected representatives and media observers in questioning the proposal by San Francisco Public Works to spend $427,500 to produce 15 prototype cans. Ultimately, San Francisco will spend millions of dollars to custom-produce 3,300 public trash for its use. 

How many millions remains an open question: The city's initial request for proposals, in 2018, envisioned a top price tag of less than $1,000 a can. But that price has at least doubled, and could now hit as high as $5,000 a can, Public Works administrators indicated in the discussions on the process. They have since stepped back from those statements, but really, no one knows how much the cans will ultimately cost. 

What we have are estimates. San Francisco will spend from $6.6 million to $16.5 million to replace the city's existing public trash cans, and those are estimates made at the present moment. Who knows what things will cost when the manufacturing actually commences.