As a State-designated “Green Community,” the City of Gloucester was recently awarded five BigBelly® Solar Compactors, trash receptacles completely self-powered by solar energy, by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). The units take up as much space as the “footprint” of an ordinary trash can—but their capacity is five times greater. The BigBelly compactors are capable of holding several times more trash, bottles and cans than similarly sized conventional receptacles, and reduce the need for emptying multiple times a day.
The new solar-powered receptacles were installed on Stacey Boulevard in addition to the four that were already there. For every solar compactor that was installed two barrels were removed. A total of 18 barrels have been removed from the boulevard. There are a few regular barrels that have been left on the boulevard, which we would like to see dog waste disposed of in, instead of the Big Bellies. The compactors are weather proof and totally enclosed which eliminates trash being strewn around by the wind, birds and animals. This is yet another step in our efforts to keep our streets clean – and our community green.
As trash collects inside a BigBelly Solar Compactor, an internal “eye” senses when the bin is filling and automatically triggers a compaction cycle. As the compacted trash reaches the level where pick up is desirable after multiple compactions, a message is sent via a notification system, indicating the receptacle is full. Without wasting trips down a street or to a curb for units that do not yet require pick-up, crews have the ability to know exactly when BigBelly solar compactors are ready for pick-up – or still have much more capacity. Externally visible LED indicator lights also communicate bin fullness information to crews.
In May 2010, the City of Gloucester was one of only 35 communities in the Commonwealth to be designated a “Green Community” by the DOER – Green Communities Program. This signature program of the Green Communities Act of 2008 uses funding from the auctions of carbon emission permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to reward designated Green Communities with grants