Solar powered bins save cash, environment

@ 2013/04/03
A solar powered bin which automatically detects when it's full and crushes the waste inside has been saving US taxpayers cash.

The Big Belly Bins automatically compact general waste and recyclables and send an email to the business using them when they are full.

They are currently being used over in the US following a grant from the Department of Energy, which paid for about 40 bins during a pilot last year.

Despite coming with a hefty $7,000 price tag, it's claimed they were worth the cash because they saved time and money from having to empty bins regularly.

During the pilot programme, the City of Raleigh swapped 32 traditional open-top bins with 10 Big Belly stations.

It claimed that by doing this it reduced its trash collection costs from $40,903 to $1,607 for the year.

The number of trucks needed to collect the trash reduced to just one from the daily three. Singleton says it used to take three trucks a day to keep the cans on Fayetteville Street clean.

In the UK, Oxford in 2012 decided to employ a Big Belly Bin in its Bury Knowle Park following estimates that these could save up to £40,000 a year. They can hold up to 800 litres - up to eight times the amount held in normal street bins.

An email is sent when the bins are 85 percent full and then again when 95 percent full.

Last month the Open Spaces, City Gardens and West Ham Park Committee also decided to try out these bins to save money and keep waste to a minimum.

It decided to place these in the open spaces and gardens of the city, as well as West Ham Park after it admitted that it had been struggling with high volumes of stray litter, CO² emissions and high output of fuel consumption.

The Big Belly Solar bins have been strategically installed in open spaces and gardens where both workers and tourists often stop for lunch.

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