Big Belly: Solar Garbage Bins Hit the Streets

Big Belly: Solar Garbage Bins Hit the Streets

Solar garbage bins hit the streets

There is a new kid on the block and it eats lots of garbage. It is the innovation of a company called Big Belly Solar which has implemented a way to reduce waste, save money, help the environment and assist overworked municipal sanitation departments across the globe. By using a unique design Big Belly has been able to combine solar power with trash compacting that can hold up to five times more garbage than a standard city receptacle. It is not only innovative it just may be the template needed for many other applications that could revolutionize municipal and residential waste management beyond the antiquated system currently in place.

It’s a Mailbox, Wait a Minute…

The Big Belly Solar garbage compactors can easily be misconceived as a mailbox. However, when you get up close, it has a unique attachment that makes a passerby take a double take. It is an embedded solar panel directly on top putting the new energy initiative directly in the face of town and city citizens throughout the U.S. and 30 other countries. Even the most jaded New Yorker has to take a moment to decipher just what has taken over the overflowing, rusty, leaking, corner trash container mess they have been used to for years.

How it Works

Each bin has an automatic compacting mechanism that is powered by the solar energy cell on the top of the unit. When garbage is thrown into the device via a large, bar handled opening mouth (sort of like a big package capable mailbox), it waits until enough garbage is accumulated and then begins to go into action. The internal compactor squeezes the garbage together enabling it to fit five times more garbage than a standard street can. When it is full, an automatic sensor is activated alerting sanitation workers to empty it and/or sending a signal to either mobile or computer devices enabling an organized, efficient pickup system that reduces unnecessary time, money and manpower.

The Big Belly So Far

Big Belly

With over 15,000 units servicing 30 different countries (all 50 states in the U.S.) it seems that this new format may be catching on. The numbers speak for themselves. Take Philadelphia for instance, which was on the brink of sanitation budget cuts and job loss when they turned to this format and saved $900,000 on collections in the first year. Garbage trucks that got less than 3 mpg and cost approximately $150 to operate (factor in worker wages) were suddenly scaled back by using Big Belly bins sending manpower to other needed duties.

Made in America

That’s right, these garbage eaters are made in the USA supporting companies in Kentucky, Vermont and Massachusetts. All factories and headquarters are based within US shores keeping the green job cycle humming. They also keep rats and pigeons off city streets and offer additional units that support recycling glass, plastic, etc.

Once again innovation trumps waste, literally. Big Belly now leads the way in public sanitation, what will they think of next?

2 Responses to “Big Belly: Solar Garbage Bins Hit the Streets”
  1. Liz Wolfe says:

    My question is – what happens to recyclable materials that are in the trash? bottles, aluminum cans… Don’t some municipalities sort their trash after pickup?

    • Liz-
      Thanks for your comment! Good question. Some cities offer both trash and recycle containers- side by side which is ideal. However, when recyclable content is placed in the big belly solar compactor it crushes it, but it can still be sorted out once it is emptied at the municipal facilities.

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