trash receptor, the BigBelly Solar, includes a series of lights that
signifies its status - empty or full. ~Photo by Bobbie Toner
By Cathleen Twardzik
are you going to throw that out? In a trash can, right? Now, you can
dispose of your refuse in a technology-savvy trash receptor - the
Big-Belly trash cans made their debut in
Somerville in 2007, according to Lesley Hawkins, Public Information
Officer. As part of his ongoing efforts to ensure that Somerville is a
sustainable community and to reduce our city's carbon footprint, Mayor
Curtatone participated in a pilot program with the company in 2007,
installing seven BigBelllys throughout Somerville."
of them rose to a total of 42 by 2008. At that time, "The City opted to
make a significant investment in this program and currently has a total
of 42 BigBellys," said Hawkins. Each can cost around $3,600.
If you want to locate the nearest BigBelly, look all over Somerville, but especially in business districts, and parks.
now some of the BigBellys are broken. This winter, cold weather caused
that to occur, according to Hawkins. "Four of the barrels had minor
software malfunctions. The manufacturer has since repaired all four at
no cost to the City," she said. "The City did not spend any man hours
or funds on the repairs."
Hawkins directed individuals
interested in the process of repairing the new trash cans, including
the amount of time, as well as the cost of that project to the trash
How do these souped-up trash cans work? All
of the BigBelly "trash compactor[s]" includes a series of lights, which
are located on the can's side. That feature signifies its status -
empty or full, according to Hawkins. Not only do they fire off a
text-message upon their being filled to capacity, but they "will also
upload that information to a website" that can be accessed by the City
at any time," said Hawkins.
Fortunately, "No City positions have
been eliminated as a result of the implementation of the BigBelly
barrels," she said. Instead, "the barrels have allowed for better
allocation of City resources and staff." Therefore, money for gas and
productivity were saved. Further, the expense of trash removal is lower
"because the trash in the barrel is compacted and is not exposed to the
elements, therefore not becoming wet, it weights less."