Albany, California: Small Town with Big City Efforts to Keep its Waterfront, Parks and Commercial Areas Clean and Pest-Free


Waste, Recycling

& Compost Offered


Gallons of Waste

Contained & Collected 


First Adopted Bigbelly System


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The City of Albany is a culturally rich waterfront community located on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. While situated in a major metropolitan region, this community is dedicated to maintaining its small town ambience with a diverse mix of community events, arts and entertainment, and an active commercial district. The large volume of residents and visitors drawn to Albany’s waterfronts, parks, and public spaces makes public waste challenging. If not managed effectively, overflows, windblown litter, and attraction of pests became a common occurrence.

Driven to provide a welcoming and sustainable environment, Albany uses the Bigbelly system in commercial districts and parks. Their deployment of 47 smart systems have led to a noticeable reduction in vermin, litter, overflows, and windblown trash thanks to the enclosed design. The system has reduced the required time spent on litter clean up and the overall environmental footprint of waste collection. Continuously ranking in the Top 10 Diversion among communities with Bigbelly, Albany keeps waste out of the landfills by offering both recycling and compost streams in each of their parks. 



"The Bigbelly units have been very successful both in commercial areas and in City parks. We have replaced all existing receptacles in our parks and our main walkable commercial strip along Solano Avenue with the enclosed Bigbelly bins. This has made our public spaces more inviting. The Bigbelly system has also helped to further many of the Albany City Council’s strategic goals, including maintaining inviting parks, advancing economic development and business vitality, and fostering a healthy and sustainable urban village.”

- Claire Griffing, Sustainability & Resilience Manager, City of Albany 





The City’s strategic goals focus on maximizing parks, sustainability, and beautification of public spaces. Residents and visitors flock to Albany because of its quaint charm and appeal. Citizens and town officials are passionate about preserving the visual aesthetic of the town and protecting the waterways in the San Francisco Bay. Each year many find outdoor recreational activities along the shoreline and hills – strolling the waterfront, hiking the San Francisco Bay Trail, or visiting East Shore Park. High volumes of visitors make waste management a challenge.

When new trash reduction requirements were enacted, officials needed to identify more effective methods for trash containment, specifically to limit trash entering waterways. Officials were motivated to curb litter and overflows, and provide more opportunities to dispose of recyclable and compostable materials. Attention did not stop there. Open top waste containers allowed for the unsanitary and unsightly mess created by pests foraging in public trash.


"We really like the Bigbelly system. We’ve found them particularly useful in our parks to reduce litter and overflow issues. Without accessible and open waste bins, vermin do not have a food source to feed on and in turn they’re forced to find food sources in other locations. Because of the Bigbellies, we have eliminated our rat problem and no longer receive complaints from park users.” 

- Gale Rossi, Facilities and Maintenance Manager, City of Albany




In 2012, the City of Albany placed its first 15 smart waste bins along Solano Avenue and in Memorial Park. Easy collection and maintenance, overall visual aesthetic, and improved area cleanliness were key considerations in City Council approving expansions of their fleet. The City now has 92 individual Bigbelly units, paired together for multiple streams at each location across parks and commercial areas. The 47 multi-stream locations provide an opportunity to dispose of trash, recycling, and organics all marked with clear signage for recycling education on-the-go. 

The Public Works Department uses Bigbelly’s CLEAN software to track usage, assess metrics, and receive automatic notifications when bins are ready for collection. Real-time monitoring allows crews to collect park bins more efficiently, avoiding overflows and messes. Paramount to maintaining inviting parks, the City replaced all open-top bins with enclosed Bigbellys, which has significantly decreased rat populations by removing trash as a food source.



"The Bigbelly system has a myriad of benefits for the City, including pest control, litter reduction, increased recycling and composting opportunities, aesthetic improvement, public education and economic development benefits through the use of decals and side panels, and increased modernization and adaptability. Albany is full of avid recyclers, and we’re pleased to provide opportunities for them to recycle and compost in our public spaces.”

- Claire Griffing, Sustainability & Resilience Manager, City of Albany



Meaningful RESULTS

Smarter waste management with Bigbelly has allowed City Council to meet strategic goals designed to make Albany more enjoyable. Residents, visitors, and local business owners found the addition of Bigbelly a smart step toward making public spaces more welcoming. There is a noticeable reduction in vermin, litter, overflows, and windblown trash thanks to Bigbelly’s enclosed design and has in turn reduced the required time spent on litter clean up.

Placement of Bigbelly in visible locations encourages proper recycle and compost disposal. Albany has ranked in the top 10 cities with the highest recycling diversion ratios among other Bigbelly deployments for the last two years. Their system captured 225,206 gallons over the last 12 months, 56% of which was diverted from landfills. Reducing waste and increasing diversion is critical in support of the City’s Climate Action Plan and goals related to Alameda County’s StopWaste which educates on wasting less and recycling more, and using resources more efficiently.

Leveraging the space on the sides of the bins, Albany engages the community and supports economic development by promoting City-sponsored events and services and environmental public service announcements. Local businesses can also purchase ad space with proceeds returning to the City’s Economic Development budget and used to fund decorative banners in the City’s commercial district. Bigbelly has created more sustainable and welcoming, cleaner and safer public spaces in Albany with a modern design that is aesthetically pleasing.


City of Albany, California - Urban Village by the Bay ABOUT City of Albany, California

Consisting of a total of area of 5.5 square miles – 1.8 square miles of land and 3.7 square miles of water – the City of Albany is a thriving small town with Big City influences in Alameda County, California. With a population of over 18,000+ its diverse cultural, recreational and commercial offerings attract hundreds of thousands visitors annually.

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