Baltimore's new pilot trash can pilot program begins.

Residents in two Baltimore neighborhoods received large plastic trash cans on wheels as part of a pilot program aimed at creating a cleaner and healthier city. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun / November 19, 2013)

Residents of Belair-Edison in Northeast Baltimore and the greater Mondawmin area on the west side made the first use of new huge plastic trash cans on wheels last weekend as part of Baltimore’s new pilot program to fight litter and rats.

The city Department of Public Works handed out 64-gallon trash cans to 9,000 homes. The cans are made of heavy duty plastic and come with an attached lid and a tracking device to prevent theft.

It’s aimed at creating cleaner and healthier communities, said Rudolph S. Chow, the city’s DPW director.

"We believe the Municipal Trash Can Pilot Program is a proactive step that will help us attack litter and rat problems head on,” Chow said in a statement. “It allows us to better serve our citizens, and achieve greater operating efficiency. But we need residents to use the cans in order for all of us to reap the benefits.”

The city also distributed recycling bins. Most area governments only provide recycling bins, including Howard and Anne Arundel counties.

If the pilot is deemed successful, to be measured by cleaner alleys and fewer rats, officials will consider whether to approve a $10 million citywide expansion.

The carts cost about $40 each. DPW paid $578,000 from the agency's general funds to cover the cost of the carts. 

The neighborhoods in the pilot were selected because of their mix of vacant properties, rowhouses and detached homes.