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Mayor Vince Gray announced today (to as much fanfare as possible, considering the topic) that the Department of Public Works will start delivering $11.1 million worth of new trash cans and recycling bins to households starting in January.

The cans, known as Supercans, will replace the current bins, many of which are 12 years old. The trash cans look largely the same as their predecessors. The recycling bins, though, are bigger.

The 75,000 residences that have scheduled trash pickup once a week (which is most of the city except wards 1, 2, and 6) will get 96-gallon bins for trash and a 64-gallon recycling bin. Now, they’ve got 96-gallon trash bins and 32-gallon recycling bins.

About 30,000 residences that get trash picked up twice a week will get 32-gallon trash bins and 48-gallon recycling bins. Recycling only gets picked up once a week, no matter what.

The new bins are intended to encourage and accommodate increased recycling. Recycling currently accounts for 27 percent of all material picked up, up from 13 percent in 2005. District law says that 45 percent of all materials picked up should be recyclables.

“We are committed to recycling and sustainability,” Gray said at the press conference. D.C. Councilmembers Kenyan McDuffie of Ward 5 and Mary Cheh of Ward 3 were also on hand.

The contract still needs final approval from the Council; assuming it gets it, delivery of the new bins will start in January. Homes with once-weekly trash pickup would be first in line to get the new bins, and everyone will have them by July.

Photos by Perry Stein