On a recent trip to Richmond Virginia, we encountered several recycling bins with solar powered in-built trash compactors peppered throughout the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) campus. This is a welcomed marriage of green thinking: clean solar energy to reduce the frequency of trash collection (and fossil fuel consumption) paired with the reclamation and recycling of earth’s precious resources. A majority of these compactors were placed strategically near food courts and other common areas on the Campus.

The company responsible for making and installing these compactors, BigBelly Solar, also has some of their compactors in use in Pittsburg, PA. We think it would be a welcomed change to New York streets if Mayor Bloomberg could work to get these installed around the city!

Under the hood is a fairly simple system of a 30 Watt panel delivering power to a sealed lead acid battery through pulse width modulation (rather than a steady current flow, energy is delivered in rapid bursts). More information about the compactor can be found on their website: here.

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