The Charleston Public Services Department projects savings of approximately $200,000 per year with the city’s new solar-powered “Bigbelly” trash cans dispersed throughout downtown.
At present, crews spend nearly 730 hours per month emptying trash bins. But with the new advanced-technology waste containers, sanitation crews will spend no more than 150 hours, freeing them to work on other tasks such as street cleaning.
The Bigbelly trash bins are built with compactors that press down the waste to allow the bin to hold eight times more trash than an ordinary trash can. Bigbellies also have sensors that measure their capacities.
The units are also designed to send out email notifications to the city’s Environmental Services Department to alert workers of when the bins' bags need replacing. The smart trash cans are estimated to use only 2,812 bags per month compared to the current use of 17,863 bags per month.
Charleston is leasing Bigbelly trash cans for five years for $172,000 annually and has already installed approximately more than 100 units throughout downtown. Charleston’s Superintendent of Environmental Sciences Matt Alltop said that the project has been two years in the making, and other cities like New York and Philadelphia also use Bigbelly trash cans.