BigBelly Solar, a renewable energy waste-compacting trashcan company, will partner with Hyattsville’s Environment Committee, as a way to mitigate the city’s littering problem.
As large and enclosed solar-paneled containers with Wi-Fi, BigBelly trash cans compact garbage, convert the compiled trash into compost on site and then send a text message to sanitation workers when full for pick up.
While the trash compactors are already present in major cities such as Philadelphia, Miami and New York, Hyattsville will be the first city in Prince George’s County to install BigBellys.
In addition to commercial parts of Hyattsville, Environment Committee Chair Jim Groves said the committee wants to place the bins in parks to eliminate overflowing trashcans. According to Groves, trash blowing everywhere on windy days can create huge problems for the city’s playgrounds and green life.
The committee’s goals are to improve the aesthetic appeal of Hyattsville’s parks ultimately encouraging patrons to respect and take care of the city’s natural landscapes.
While litterers contribute to the city’s trash problem, citizens in West Hyattsville thought there were already too few trashcans in town. And when BigBellys are installed, the city will downsize the amount of trashcans they possess, from a little over 90 trashcans around Hyattsville, to just over 70.
Groves explained that although better trashcans would only solve part of the problem, putting more trashcans in town will not improve the situation either. Groves says until citizens are aware of major detriments to littering, the city will see little progress.
“You can put trashcans every 10 feet, and there’s still going to be trash on the ground… They don’t care,” Groves said. “That’s a societal problem and so I think along with these BigBelly trashcans, there needs to be more of a concerted effort to make sure all the trash is picked up.”
In addition, Groves also said that although these trashcans will be helpful, he would also like for law enforcement to assert a larger presence in environmental issues, noting that the city has no formal litter patrols. “I think the police need to do a better job of finding people when they see them doing that… but it’s a start and it’ll be neat,” he said.
The trashcans will cost anywhere from $9,000 to $12,000 per unit. However, the city’s budget allows for them to be paid for. In addition, BigBelly Solar includes a lease program that fixes damages, and offers software support. Community businesses and groups may also choose to sponsor a BigBelly.
Hyattsville will begin to install the BigBelly units either later this year, or early next year.