Yes we can! Downtown gets 100 solar-powered trash compactors

Brooklyn Paper
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They’re the pick of the litter!

A Downtown business group is installing more than 100 futuristic solar-powered trash compactors around the neighborhood’s streets this week, and local residents and workers say the new baby blue bins look so great, they can’t wait to start cramming their detritus inside.

“It’s inviting, it’s like ‘Come to me, put your trash in here,’ ” said Sharice Reed, who works at Downtown Natural Market on Willoughby Street, adding that they look much cleaner than the old metal cans, which are havens for local wildlife.

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership — a powerful group representing local business interests and championing development in the borough’s beating commercial heart — will place 108 Big Belly units throughout the neighborhood by Sunday and has already installed several on Court and Adams streets and along Fulton Mall.

The $4,000-a-pop receptacles are topped with solar panels that harness the power of the sun to squash down discarded soda cans and fast food wrappers, which means they can hold up to six times the amount of trash than a regular metal waste baskets, according to the partnership.

The high-tech dumpsters — which are already prevalent in Park Slope, Bay Ridge, and Williamsburg — also sport sensors that detect when they are full to make collection more efficient.

Each trash station dedicates one half for can and bottle recycling, and the other for regular garbage — which can only be opened via a handle so vermin can’t get in.

The design isn’t popular with everyone — residents of Philadelphia, where the cutting-edge cans have been around for years and are showing their age — often gripe about having to touch gunky handles to dispose of their leftover Irish Potato boxes and empty water ice cups.

But Brooklynites say the new bins, at least, add a touch of class to the Downtown streets that are sorely lacking from their trashy forebears.

“They’re stylish,” said Elijah Edwards, who lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant. “Before the other garbage cans were overflowing.”

The business group — which oversees the MetroTech Business Improvement District, Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn Business Improvement District, and Fulton Mall Improvement Association — is planning to install an additional 32 Big Bellies once the MetroTech arm spreads into Atlantic Yards.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

good/green idea from Brooklyn says:
This will reduce the frequency of garbage truck pick ups thereby reducing their pollution, fossil fuel consumption and the traffic havoc/obstacles they create.

They will pay for themselves over time while improving our quality of life in the meantime.

A big yes! The more the merrier.
March 22, 2016, 10:22 am
stanchaz from greenpoint says:
Half the time they don't work- or are clogged beyond capacity. And when that happens they look even worse than the old-fashioned overflowing garbage cans.
I don't know if the reason is that they are not regularly serviced and maintained- or whether they just don't work properly and can,t handle NYC street conditions .
But in my opinion they're LEMONS.
March 22, 2016, 11:11 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Hello stanches. John Wasserman here. We can't ask for a sunny day every day, but I do appreciate their efforts. Perhaps they could focus on placing them in less shady spots. I'm sure this is a good idea. For instance, my solar powered flashlight works much, MUCH better in the sun than when it is dark out.
John Wasserman
March 22, 2016, 12:12 pm
But what do I know? says:
They aren't stylish, they're fadish, inappropriate for an urban environment and I question the value of the resulting material's reduced exposure to oxygen.
March 22, 2016, 6:36 pm
Russell from Brooklyn Heights says:
The increased weight of the compacted material will probably result in more diesel burned.

Do I invest in a nice heavy glass bottle of milk? Or buy a responsibly harvested carton? Or lightweight recycled plastic jug?

It's like the freaking hokey pokey.
March 22, 2016, 6:51 pm
Johnny from Park Slope says:
Are recyclables being tossed into the crunch?
March 22, 2016, 7:13 pm
Tom from Park Slope says:
Forehead beer can crushing has the potential to be greener.

Have you ever seen an aluminum factory?
March 22, 2016, 7:22 pm
Johnny from Park Slope says:
Don't a number of homeless people rely on recycling income?
March 22, 2016, 7:23 pm
Sarah from Prospect Heights says:
Who feel comfortable handling a public trash receptacle, in NYC?
March 22, 2016, 10:08 pm
Arthur from Dee says:
Truncated soda machine?

Why are mailboxes made of steel? Anyone ever spot a plastic gentile newspaper dispenser that looked tip top?
March 23, 2016, 12:48 am
J. says:
When will the stickers, acid scratches start to appear above the solar areas?
March 23, 2016, 1:16 am
Design Matters from Greenpoint says:
$$$$ even if these bloated gadgets were cheaper, I'd be reluctant to believe they are environmentally responsible, in the grand scheme of
March 23, 2016, 1:47 pm
Alois C. from Greenpoint says:
Won't this stuff eventually contaminate groundwater?
March 23, 2016, 3:46 pm
Dascha from Williamsburg says:
Whatever happened to the 3 Rs? Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

There was no mention of compacting, so as to enable more???
March 23, 2016, 4:38 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
It isn't about anything more than making you feel good.

Don't count the heavy metal pollution from making solar cells.

Isn't it fun to have a solar panel do what you could do with a booted foot in the trash can?
March 24, 2016, 10:08 am
Dascha from Williamsburg says:
And the seemingly impossible to recycle Tetra Pak?

Styrofoam, eh em de Blasio?

And don't give me more of these monster$, for ea separate item.
March 24, 2016, 6:03 pm
Ursula from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Lauren, you may think these receptacles are "futuristic." Think again! As usual, European countries are far ahead of NYC. I've even seen them in South America. Besides, we aren' t even talking about the NYC Department of Sanitation being the sponsor.
March 25, 2016, 3:06 pm
b says:
Ursula, That's a bunch of hogwash. Compacting trash to accommodate for more trash to be buried is akin to gardeners using peat.
March 25, 2016, 4:47 pm
Eric from Williamsburg says:
This is Idiocracy's way of dealing with waste. Sweep as much as you can, under the rug, without a thought to content.

Yes, if only the wastelands of India could be compressed to allow for the production of more trash! Not.

I believe in the package obsessed Japan, people carry their trash home to extensively sort their recyclables. Advanced small countries know best.

Really though, the continued allowance of trash production is the problem. This is why Switzerland's approach is best.
March 25, 2016, 5:32 pm
Charles Bossse says:
Nice post here! The city needs this kind of trash can to ensure the cleanliness and safety of the public. In Australia, We are passionate about developing new, innovative ways of managing waste for our customers and we pride ourselves on our ability to solve problems. I read a similar idea from the blogs made by
May 12, 2016, 9:41 pm

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