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

Yes we can! Downtown gets 100 solar-powered trash compactors
Photo by Jason Speakman

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 lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Trash of the future: The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership is planning to install 108 of these solar-powered garbage cans and recycling bins throughout Downtown by Sunday.
Photo by Jason Speakman