Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.E-mail: email@example.com
Philadelphia's Department of Streets recently began testing a new solar-powered trash receptable and compactor that can store four to six times the volume of ordinary litter baskets.
With innovations in green technology arriving every day, it should come as no surprise that even street trash receptacles are going green. Philadelphia's Department of Streets recently began testing a new solar-powered trash receptable and compactor that can store four to six times the volume of ordinary litter baskets and cut fuel use and greenhouse-gas emissions from garbage collection by 80 percent. Brand-named BigBelly, the receptacle is already in use by other municipalities including Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, New York City and Sacramento, Calif. The waste container, which automatically compacts garbage when its internal sensors detect that its canister is full, can run daily on the amount of energy needed to toast a slice of bread. It doesn't need direct sunlight, and its 12-volt solar battery can go three weeks without recharging. A red light indicator goes on when BigBelly is full, and it is even wireless-enabled to call for a pickup. Philadelphia is testing the solar-powered trash unit in a 30-day trial, and will buy more if the trial confirms an increase in cost- and energy-efficiency. To learn more contact the Philadelphia Department of Streets at 215-686-5460.