The Department of Public Works has installed two solar trash compactors in downtown Amherst. The Big Belly® compactors have the same footprint as a 32 gallon trash can, but provide a capacity five times greater via compaction, potentially reducing collection time, fuel cost, and greenhouse gas emissions. The compactors are constructed of steel and plastic with a leak-proof trash bin and a photovoltaic system that recharges its 12 volt battery. An LED sensor monitors capacity and uses 1250 pounds of force in a 41 second compression cycle.
The compactors have been purchased with funds from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Renewable Energy Trust’s Clean Energy Choice Grant. The bins have been placed in front of Antonio’s Pizza and Starbuck’s Coffee on North Pleasant Street; two areas that traditionally generate a high trash volume. Big Belly® bins have been employed in communities all over the United States, including Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago.