Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Solar Powered Trash Compactors

I read this morning about the new Solar Powered Trash Compactors in Boston. They have installed 50 of them downtown to reduce the number of times that each trash can needs to be emptied.

Apparently these devices store energy from the sun in some sort of battery. Once the level of trash reaches a certain point a chain powered compactor crushes the trash. The company that produces them, Seahorse Power claims it can store up to 150 gallons of trash before it must be emptied. This prevents trash from overflowing bins from flying around in the wind.

I think this is a great idea. Most people in the forums on thinks it's a waste of money. But, I have a feeling that even at a cost of $4300 each, it will save the city money in terms of man-hours for trash collection. If it also prevents overflowing trash from blowing around the streets it also delivers more value. The article claims that some traditional trash cans in Boston are emptied up to 15 times per day.

One good objection was raised: Where do we put recyclables? There are very few bins for recyclables in Boston. I think these fancy trash cans should installed along side recycle bins. The bins for bottles and cans are "self-emptying" in some sense. Someone always comes by and empties them so they can cash in the contents for 5 cents each.


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