BURRILLVILLE — The "Big Bellies" are coming to Burrillville.
Visitors to Spring Lake Beach, Hauser Memorial Field and other outdoor public spaces in town should get a glimpse this summer of Burrillville's first solar-powered trash cans. The town is planning to install "BigBelly" solar-powered waste and recycling stations at five locations in town as part of a pilot program to encourage public space recycling.
BigBelly is the world’s only solar-powered compaction system. Using the sun’s energy, the BigBelly automatically compacts trash at the point of disposal, neatly holding five times as much as ordinary receptacles. The Newton, Mass. company that makes the BigBelly claims that the increased capacity reduces collection trips and can cut related fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent.
Each soloar-powered compact bin has two units, one for trash and one for recycables. They are equipped with a chip that will deliver real-time data to the town's refuse and recycling division, showing when the units are full and need to be picked up.
The BigBelly units, proponents say, are cost-effective because they reduce overflow and decrease DPW staff collection trips.
Burrillville recycling officials say the sleek new trash cans won't just keeping garbage from blowing down the street, they will also save the town money and encourage recycling.
"I'm in favor of having these, particularly at places like Spring Lake Beach and Hauser Field," Town Council President Nancy F. Binns said at a council meeting last week. "I have personally seen the trash around Hauser Field and the amount of time it takes for the DPW to clean it up."
During its meeting, the council unanimously approved the Rubbish and Recycling Committee's request to appropriate up to $9,000 from town recycling funds to help match grants the committee is hoping to secure to pay for the BigBelly units, which cost about $30,000 each.
If the pilot program is successful, the town may consider expanding and purchasing additional units for other locations in town.