Birmingham to overhaul trash pickup system distributing citywide 100,000 large trash bins

Birmingham City Hall (Nathan Watson/Bham Now)

The City of Birmingham is launching a uniform garbage cart system for all its residential homes.

Earlier this week, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin recommended and the Birmingham City Council approved $6.5 million to purchase, assemble and distribute 100,000 large trash bins to every residential home in the city.

96 Gallon Garbage Cart

(City of Birmingham)

Each Birmingham residential home will receive one complimentary 96 gallon garbage cart. These industrial bins keep trash protected from animals and weather elements. They will be serviced using new automated side loader refuse trucks with other existing trucks being retrofitted with special tippers. 

“This is a very progressive step forward,” Woodfin said. “Birmingham will now be aligned with best practices of most cities in this country when it comes to trash pickup. This is a win for our refuse collectors and a win for our residents.” 

Project Timeline

Distributing this many trash bins takes time. Below is the project timeline provided to us by the city:  

  • In about nine weeks from when the vendor’s contract is officially signed, the system will be incrementally rolled out in batches beginning with 25,000 carts. The carts will be divided equally among the city’s four waste districts
  • The second batch of 25,000 should be ready for distribution by January
  • In all, the garbage carts should be fully distributed within the next two years. 

Special trucks are needed to accommodate them and are being delivered to the city.

Once a resident receives their uniform garbage cart, their trash pickup will go from twice a week to once. The carts will also be equipped with a smart chip that associates it with a specific address, like a serial number. 

A successful pilot program launched in 2020 and tested this system with 2,400 homes. 

Less Litter Too

“I anticipate as this new system rolls out, and households receive this new trash bin that there will be an ordinance change that requires residents to use this trash receptacle and nothing else,” Councilor Darrell O’Quinn told Bham Now. “So no more simply just putting a bag of trash out into the street for the  possums, dogs, coyotes, you name it to tear open and spread all up and down the street. This is a step that is addressing that problem.”

In the meantime, barring supply chain issues, the new trash pickup system should be fully implemented by 2024.

“This has been talked about for decades, but thanks to this administration and the council, our first automated refuse truck should be hitting the ground soon,” said Josh Yates, director of the Department of Public Works. “It’s a long time coming and it feels great.”

What is your opinion of the new trash system? Tell us on social media in the comment section by tagging us at @bhamnow 

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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