Solar-powered ‘smart’ bins set to help Councils clean up

A new solar-powered street bin is set to revolutionise the way in which Councils store and collect rubbish across the UK. Thousands of BigBelly Solar Powered Compactor Street bins have been rolled out across the country after six years of intensive trials.

The innovative bin consists of a solar PV module which powers a 12v battery, which in turn provides the power for the internal compactor.  The BigBelly takes up roughly the same footprint of an existing street bin but, because of the compactor, can hold eight times more waste than the average bin. The solar-powered compactor exerts 1,200 pounds of force and runs on less than 5Wh per day provided entirely by the sun’s energy.

The solar bins are being trialled in south Devon where local Councillor Jeanette Richards said: "The solar-powered bin has been well received in America but is relatively new to the UK so we are keen to get feedback from residents as to whether we should consider rolling them out.”

The solar-powered bins also possess two volume sensors within the bin that when triggered will send a text/email to the council warning them that the bin is ready for emptying. Big Belly Solar believes that this feature alone cuts bin collection costs by a staggering 70 percent. Councils are then able to simply access a map of its streets and parks to locate each individual bin and its current capacity status, helping them schedule collections at their most efficient, reducing the carbon footprint of the collection service.