Move over Wall-E, BigBelly Solar Stations are in town, er-well have been in town rather. I don’t know about you, but it’s only recently that I noticed the fancy new solar powered recycling stations around campus. They occupy four different high traffic areas including the Office of Admissions, Usdan, the Memorial Chapel and Olin. They’ve also been sighted throughout Middletown as well. At first, I half expected it to say “thank you” after I put my recyclables in its belly, or at least give me an affectionate series of robotic noises like R2D2, but alas this wasn’t the case. Although, they do have red and green lights on them that flash to indicate how full they are.
Founded in 2003, BigBelly Stations can be found in more than 30 countries. The company has been instrumental in creating the first public recycling programs in cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston. In Philadelphia, BigBellys saved the city almost a million dollars on collections during its first year.
WHY are they so cool you ask?
Well there are a couple of reasons. For one thing, the BigBelly Recycling Bins are single stream, which is arguably the most effective way to recycle. It makes recycling easy by allowing all recyclables to go into one container which is subsequently sorted off-site. As for the BigBelly Waste Compactor, it’s said to have five times the capacity of regular trash cans of the same dimensions, thanks to the solar powered compaction that takes place every so often. Since the trash takes up less space, it can reduce collection frequency by up to 80%.
Although the bins aren’t yet equipped to talk, they can text and email. Once the bins are full, they contact facilities to come and empty their bellies so there’s no need for constant unnecessarily checking.
When we return, let’s give BigBellys a lot to text about.