Sunday, March 6, 2011

Solar Garbage Cans, What?

On Friday, I had several meetings in Union Square and I had 2 hours of free time in between meetings. I decided to go to Union Square Park to check out the farmer's market.  I like the wheat grass stand, I used to buy wheat grass seeds from them, but they told me that the farmer's market changed their rules and they are not allowed to sell seeds anymore, because they are only allowed to sell grown grass.  (sigh)  How annoying, this doesn't make sense to me.  They're restricted to only sell items they grow, however, where do they think seeds come from, it's produced by the plant...  I don't get who comes up with these rules!
I love that spring flowers are finally showing up at the market.  These bouquets were really gorgeous, but I was confused by the roses.  I wonder if they grow these in greenhouses?  It's still too cold for roses to be in bloom locally here.
At the park, I saw something interesting.  A solar compactor?  I wondered what that was.  At first, I thought it might have been a solar composter, now that would be a cool idea.  But it was a compactor...  I guess it compacts garbage?
When I got home, I looked at the community website, I couldn't find more information about these unique garbage cans.  I'm surprised that something so "green" didn't make it to the community's website.
When I went home, I Googled the solar compactor and found out that it's manufactured by BigBelly Corporation and that the garbage can contains a compactor inside that compacts the garbage using solar power.  Their website states that it can hold 5 times more garbage than an ordinary receptacle, while being the same size.  This saves the community money by cutting down on sanitation pickup costs.  Very interesting.  The compactors though are a bit pricey at $4,000 a receptacle, however, I'm sure it pays in the long run with all the savings on cutting down on the sanitation schedule. I found this article and also this video where the Vice President of the company explains how the solar compactor works. 
I love the idea that the compactor uses solar panels, and therefore does not cost the city anything to power it.  However, I'm wishing that we could change the mindset of people.  In the park, there are recycling containers that collect paper and aluminum / glass and I wonder how many people still throw away what can be recycled into the trash compactor.  Also, I was thinking, how nice it would be if in addition to the solar compactor, if we could get solar composters available as well so that people can put organic materials in there and the compost could be used within the park.  Now that would be a phenomenal idea.
After walking around the park, I need a snack, so I bought some chocolate chip cookies from one of the vendors, Stone Arch Farm from Schuyler, NY.  The cookies were delicious, made with vanilla pudding.  Yummy!


  1. We have those solar trash cans here in Boston as well. They spent quite a bit of money on them, but they're supposed to save a lot of money as well. The cookies look yummy!

  2. very interesting concept. I am always amazed at what great ideas people can come up with. I too am waiting for spring. we are probbably a bit behind you weather wise. still pretty cold here with 6 to 10 inches of snow expected tonight. bleh!

  3. Interesting for sure! That cookie does look delicious!

  4. Very interesting! So nice to see bits of spring for you, we had a taste of it this weekend. I can hardly wait to feel the dirt again...How strange about not being able to sell the seeds anymore!

  5. Quite an idea, Cookies made with the help of Solar Trash.

  6. I luv walking thru and shopping at those kind of places.

  7. Great way to keep track of the trash and food waste! As opposed to letting it be added to the garbage pale. Great post.

    -Land Source Container Service, Inc.


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