Have you ever been too lazy to take out the trash so you just squish it down? Not wanting to go outside, you go to great lengths to squeeze the pizza box, milk carton and moldy leftovers all into that brimming under-the-sink waste receptacle.
Well, the city of Philadelphia has found a way to beat the system – as well as saving money and helping the environment. The cheesesteak haven has replaced 700 public trash containers downtown with 500 high-tech compactors called BigBelly’s, which use solar power to condense trash, cutting collection trips by 75%.
Facing a $1.4 billion, five-year budget deficit, the city estimates it will save $875,000 a year with the compactors, bought with state grant money.
The BigBelly is powered by light, but it does not need direct light, said Richard Kennelly, VP of Marketing for BigBelly Solar, which is based in Needham, Mass. When trash gets to the top of the bin, it breaks an electronic beam that triggers a motor that pushes it down. As trash gets more densely packed, the machine senses the resistance and changes a light on the front of the bin from green to yellow.
The cans also have a wireless monitoring system that notifies the city when they’re full. In addition, the city is introducing curbside recycling containers next to many of the compactors.
Read more from USA Today.