The city of Philadelphia has been currently trying out a solar-based solution to avoid the over-collection of trash and wastage of resources incurred during the process. Specializing in various city-based solutions, Bigbelly offers solar-powered trash cans that could do the valuable job of compacting trash and not just collecting it. The city could expect five times more waste held in each receptacle compared to a same-size non-compactor. This feature would help the city authorities to have less frequent trash runs and some cost savings too. Furthermore, the trash company would be alerted when a compactor is full as it uses a wireless transmitter.
Replacing and Maintaining Compactors could be Far from Cheap
Although a Bigbelly compactor could offer cost savings, it needs energy to function. Cost savings in the case of the compactor are not directly related to the use of solar panels, which offer energy efficiency of an 11-15%. Instead, they are achieved with the avoidance of an additional charge and waste and fuel reduction. Solar panels offer massive savings by reducing energy needs that have already existed. However, trash cans existing before the introduction of compactors did not use any power.
Moreover, trash compactors may not be considered as a long-term solution because they need maintenance, work, and replacement, unlike basic outdoor trash cans to some degree. And, the replacement comes with a price tag higher than for a normal can. A receptacle could cost an around US$4,000. Maintenance cost, crew cost, and stolen handles are a heavy expense that the city may not like to bear. Only time could tell how this innovative take on trash would impact the city.