The trash collection industry has always been a pretty ‘wasteful’ one, what with garbage collectors sticking to their regular, pre-defined routes whilst out and about collecting their smelly cargo.
Waste disposal is a dirty job all right, but to quote an often-used phrase – someone has to do it.
The only trouble is, it seems that most refuse collectors are also pretty ‘wasteful’ as they go about things, with garbage trucks sticking like glue to their regular, pre-defined routes whilst out and about collecting their smelly cargo. Sure, they’re performing an essential service for the rest of us, but the way they do things is also very inefficient, with some garbage bins being left to overflow whilst others are collected when they’re not even half full.
Enter BigBelly Solar, who’ve come up with a revolutionary new garbage bin that they hope will transform the waste collection industry and make it more efficient and more environmentally friendly than ever before.
What’s so great about BigBelly Solar? Well, first off, they’re bins are not your normal can of garbage – they’re actually ‘connected bins’, powered by solar energy.
Another feature of BigBelly Solar’s bins is that they all come with built-in compressors, which means they can compact the waste they hold and achieve a capacity five times greater than a regular one.
The real kicker however, is the bin’s connectivity. BigBelly Solar’s trash compactors use their solar panels to power sensors located within the bin, which can send back data in real-time on their current capacity – notifying waste managers when they’re full and when they’re going to need emptying. The result of all this is that waste collection firms can better optimize their collection routes, saving on gasoline and wasted journeys, whilst preventing any problems with bins overflowing.
BigBelly Solar’s bins are just another great example of how ‘big data‘ is slowly changing our lives for the better, as evidenced by their success in Philadelphia, one of the first cities where they were deployed. Faced with big budget cuts back in 2009, the city’s public waste services division decided that the best way to save money would be to cut back on its labor and fleet costs.
The department took the dramatic decision to replace more than 700 conventional bins with 500 of BigBelly Solar’s compactors, whilst setting up a control center that could monitor and direct vehicles and staff. The result was that Philadelphia was able to cut down its city center garbage-collecting sorties from 17 times a week to just 2.5 times a week, whilst reducing the number of staff from 33 persons to just 17, saving $900,000 in just one year.