Garbage fight! Battle over solar trash compactors

Garbage fight! Battle over solar trash compactors
File photo by Kenny Kirschenbaum

A Sheepshead Bay legislator insists that high-tech, solar-powered trash compactors will solve the neighborhood’s litter problem — and claims he’ll pay to have them installed — even though the city says it’s tried them already and knows they’re destined to fail.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) is considering placing several BigBelly machines, which crush all trash that goes into it, along Emmons Avenue from Sheepshead Bay Road to Holocaust Park. Residents of the waterfront community have been fuming this summer about overfilled garbage cans turning their streets into giant dumpsters, and Cymbrowitz says solar-powered compactors could provide rubbish relief because their capacities are five times greater than a typical garbage pail.

“They save on Sanitation pick-ups,” Cymbrowitz said.

BigBelly buckets cost $3,000 a piece, but the local lawmaker says he can cough up a portion of the $450,000 he’s been allocated for improvements to Emmons Avenue, though he needs permission from the Parks Department and the Department of Sanitation to actually install them.

Sanitation isn’t a fan of the futuristic cans. The Department of Sanitation told us that the city has already tested the BigBelly machines on borough streets — and the trash compactors failed miserably.

“The compactor couldn’t handle certain types of litter like umbrellas and people weren’t sure what to make of them,” explained Department of Sanitation spokesman Matthew Lipani. “Some even thought it was a mailbox.”

On top of that, Lipani said the compactors can’t come close to wire trash cans in cost: the city’s cheap bins go for about $125 each.

And some locals fear that people will abuse the cans, clogging them with large items like cardboard boxes.

“That could be a problem,” said local Stan Kaplan. “Who knows what people will try to put in there?”