Jul 27, 2010

Solar Powered Trash Compactors

The Orlando, Fl public bus service, Lynx,  has purchased from Waste Management 5 solar powered trash compactors to reduce their garbage costs,

Highlights from an Orlando Sentinel article,

Costing $5,500, the "BigBelly" is a computerized, solar-powered compactor that, supporters say, can dramatically reduce garbage-collection costs.

Lynx has purchased four of the devices and is in the midst of a three-month test to see how well they work. The $22,000 bill was paid with federal-stimulus dollars.

The key is that the compactors hold five times as much refuse — at 150 gallons — as the containers now at Lynx's 550 covered stops. The covers on the compactors also eliminate litter blowing in the wind.

"Everyone preaches green initiatives," said Lynx spokesman Matt Friedman. "This is just another way for Lynx to add a green initiative."

Lynx might seek to buy enough of the devices for its whole system if the compacters continue working well. Ordering 200 would cost more than $1 million — an amount the cash-strapped agency does not have.

Friedman said Lynx likely would look for a state or federal grant to pay for the compactors, which send an e-mail to a computer at bus headquarters when they need emptying.

The trash bins are distributed in Florida by Waste Management. Tim Carlisle, Waste Management's director of product management, said his company is talking with several Florida cities about buying or leasing them, including Miami, Tallahassee and Orlando.

About 6,000 units are up and running nationwide, Carlisle said. More than 100 college campuses, including Florida State University, University of Michigan and Yale University, have them.

Dan Tracy can be reached at dtracy@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5444.

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