Collect, Compact, Recycle: Solar trash cans debut in Long Beach
2010-07-08 · By Editor
After being approved by the City Council last December, Long Beach’s first solar trash cans debuted at an installation ceremony on Wednesday. Three solar trash cans—installed in Downtown Long Beach, Belmont Shore and Bixby Knolls—are part of a pilot project that will last six months.
“I am pleased our City, the Downtown Long Beach Associates and the distributor WAXIE have partnered to bring these bins to our City,” said 2nd District Councilmember Suja Lowenthal. “These solar trash bins are an innovative and sustainable approach to collecting trash and increasing recycling in the Downtown.”
Trash Bins Promise Solar-Powered Savings
The solar-powered bins are both a trash compactor and collection unit which squeezes refuse to just 20 percent of its normal volume. The containers, which have the same blueprint as regular trash cans but can compact about 150 gallons of trash into a 32-gallon bin, are expected to reduce costs by requiring fewer trash collections and maintenance.
In addition to reducing waste and greenhouse gases, the solar trash bins will increase recycling rates and boost conservation efforts throughout Long Beach. The bins come side-by-side with recycling units to collect bottle, can and paper for recycling.
“We believe these solar trash cans are successful tools to harness the power of the sun and look at collecting trash and recycling in a whole new light,” said Keith Schneringer, Marketing Manager of WAXIE Sanitary Supply, the company that installed the solar trash cans and will maintain them during the pilot project.
Solar Trash Cans Pilot Project
The solar trash bins are being tested in three Long Beach locations, in partnership with the Business Improvement Districts, to test the success of the solar technology. Ultimately, placing these bins in highly activated, high traffic areas, will help the visibility of these bins and their technology, will draw visitors to the area and highlight another green project in the City. The three installations will include on the 200 block of Pine Avenue in Downtown Long Beach; 2nd Street and Argonne Avenue in Belmont Shore; and Atlantic Avenue and Carson Street in Bixby Knolls.
“This solar trash can is a great addition to downtown Long Beach,” said Kraig Kojian, President of The Downtown Long Beach Associates. “Along with our other green projects such as tree plantings, LED lights, bike racks and the Long Beach Bike Festival, this solar trash can supports the greening of our Downtown.”
How the Solar-powered Trash Cans Work
Made from recycled materials, the self-powered system uses built-in solar panels to compact the trash, relying on solar power for 100 percent of the compactor’s needs. The panels, located on top of the compactor, can store energy in a recyclable battery, enabling the device to work when it’s not sunny. When the container is full, sensors trigger the compactor, flattening the 180 gallons of trash into easy-to-manage bags. The green light on the compactor turns from green to yellow and a signal is then transmitted wirelessly, letting the collectors know the unit is full and ready to be picked up. Each solar compactor, about the size of a 35-gallon trash barrel, also has a receptacles area for recyclable materials including newspaper, glass, bottles and plastic.