Monday, 4 March 2013

I know it's just a bin, but it's a Special Solar Bin!

Well this I hadn't heard of before! I stumbled upon this bin when in Camberwell, Melbourne. It is a solar power, self compacting bin and it is a new intelligent infrastructure that is reducing the collection frequency of rubbish bins in dense urban settings. I don't know about these ones specifically but they look to be very similar to BigBelly Bins from the UK.

BigBelly Bins UK

  • An internal compactor increases the litter capacity by 6 - 8 times that of a normal street bin
  • It sends an email & text when the bin is 85% full
  • Management & operatives can view, on desktops and smartphones, the real time fill levels of all bins, eliminating “milk round” type collection rounds
  • Eliminates overflowing bins
  • Eliminates weekend collections
  • Eliminates birds/vermin scattering rubbish across streets, parks & beaches
  • Reduces street cleaning & litter picking requirements due to enclosed nature of bin
  • Comprehensively and successfully tested by Councils for vandalism and for health & safety regulations since 2005
  • Each Big Belly can transmit a Wifi Platform providing local Council information and local retailer offers. This are no costs to the Council associated with this service


Data & photo sourced from

It definitely makes sense to try and reduce the frequency of collection, the effects of which can be realised not only in a reduction in carbon emissions (from rubbish trucks etc) but also in the ease of traffic congestion on rubbish days. Being 100% complete solar powered they are self-sufficient and the BigBelly Bins are even boasting Wi-Fi hot-spots and interactive data sharing so councils known exactly when the bin needs to be collected. I think they should replace all bins in the CBD of Melbourne and be paired with 'recycled materials' model as well.

A case study conducted by the City of Philadelphia titled 'Cost Savings from Solar Powered Compactors for Trash and Recycling' [Link] can give you some more info.

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