Mystery of missing trash cans solved

So, tell me, Wazaroth, how often do you weigh the contents of your bin before collection day, and how many people do you imagine do likewise?

250 pounds is a lot. I’d be really surprised if someone could put that much in a bin and wheel it to the curb.


Proposed solution: Place a scale in “The arm” and if the container exceeds some threshold, put it back down on the ground, full.


No. It needs a flashing sign saying “Overhweight turn right”.

Or municipally-provided scales.


(I almost feel a bingo card coming on.) @wazroth


The Denver solid waste trucks periodically kidnap people’s bins - they usually show up a few days later, which is even more confusing. How do they escape the innards of the truck?


Last week I was stuck behind a garbage truck that was picking up recycling. This was on a 2-lane 55-mph highway and he blocked the lane completely. The recycling can slipped out of the lifting thingie and basically dumped all the stuff by the side of the road and the truck just drove off and left the mess there for someone else to deal with. Obviously he wasn’t really in a position to get out and pick it all up, but still.

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My bin fits ~5 bags. A 50lb bag is hard to lift. If I have trouble lifting a bag, fill fewer that week or find another way of disposing of that waste.

It’s not like the truck will eat the bin if it’s 251 lbs, but 249 is a-ok


Robot arm looks nifty for picking up badly placed bins, but not so good at holding on to them.

I’ve always been impressed with the Dutch approach in cities:



My trash pick up is the old fashioned way. One or two guys on a truck picking up the trash and tossing it in.

I take great pride in my trash set out by the curb. I see what others expect these people to pick up so I make mine as easy to toss in as possible. I will split the trash up into manageable bags so they can toss it in with one hand and there is never a danger of the bag ripping. Boxes are always broken down and bundled into easily managed bundles. I love my trash collectors.

As far as 250 lbs. If it’s too heavy to easily roll out to the curb it’s too heavy, no scale needed. Split the load. If you only have one can wait till next week.

Give these workers a little respect for picking up our garbage.

On a side note… Back in the mid 70s Detroit was trying to clean up their act and the alleys where the trash was collected. They came up with some very specific rules on what and how your trash was to be placed in the alley. My grandma did not like the new rules so she gift wrapped the trash to make a statement.


In all mechatronic systems, you need a way for the system to give way gracefully. It looks like the hard stop on the “ejection” is the heaviest load on the arm. That means if you prevent a heavily-loaded can with the contents stuck inside from getting loose, you might break the arm due to inertia.

Letting the can slide out if the load is too high provides a fail-safe condition. Plastic cans are cheaper than robotic appendages.


Here’s an explanation of why they won’t retrieve the bin on the route.

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Oh, they get around:


That. Is. Amazing.


For the holidays, my wife taped envelopes to the trash and recycling cans with festive red ribbon bows. And I watched the recycling guy lift up the can, and dump the can and the envelope with a $25 Starbucks card into the back of his truck and drive off.

I mean, I know Starbucks coffee is shitty, but that wasn’t a particularly christmassy reaction.

Few years back I tried to throw away an old garbage can. It was surprisingly difficult to get the sanitation guys to take it. Over a month with a note taped to it.


I have wanted one of those things ever since Not Just Bikes told me about them.

(Great channel in general, btw.)


I see but then they should build the arm to stop when picking up too heavy of an object.

My waste management company hasn’t figured out that they need to bill me for trash service. I have been getting my trash collected for years without payment. Since they are a company accountable only to shareholders, I don’t figure I owe them anything that they can’t be bothered to collect.

Every now and then I call them to figure out how to dispose of a large object, and they tell me something ridiculous like it will cost several hundred dollars to pick up a 20x20’ rug scrap and I will have to cut it up into 3x3 pieces individually rolled and tied. They tell me I will have to create a billing account to process the payment for the pickup.

Every time I decide nope not gonna do it, hang up, cut the large item up small enough to fit in the can, and it gets picked up without payment. Even my neighbors unbagged grass clippings get picked up despite being prohibited.

Once you invest in the efficiencies of a mechanical arm, anything that slows it down becomes a liability. The story of corporate America.


And they’re even using the correct lane.

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