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Pasadena to install more solar-powered trash cans

Pasadena’s trash cans are about to get fancy.

Late Monday night, the City Council approved a work order to place 40 additional self-compacting solar energy trash cans throughout the city, in addition to the 12 the city already operates.

The city is joining Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Boston and Philadelphia in using the trash cans, called BigBelly Solar Compactors, according to the vendor’s website. The 40 receptacles will cost $146,550.

The trash bins, which first started appearing on Pasadena street corners in 2007, can compact 200 gallons of trash into one 60-gallon “neat” bag, said Gabriel Silva, the environmental programs manager with the city’s Department of Public Works.

“We don’t have to go out with our truck as often,” he said. “We’re making one trip a week versus five trips a week.”

Silva said the city will save $61,400 annually in reduced labor and fuel costs because of the trash cans.

The areas around City Hall and the intersection of South Lake Avenue and East California Boulevard are among the 40 planned installation sites for the trash bins, said Ann Erdman, a spokeswoman with the city.

“It’s part of greening Pasadena,” Silva said.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Comments () | Archives (13)

Someone please help me with the math. How does reducing the bulk to 1/3rd the volume allow them to pick up the trash 1/5 of the time? It seems to me they should have only been going out to pick up the trash 3 times a week but instead they were going out 5 times a week? Why was that?

In addition to a greener way of completing municipal services, this also sounds like the elimination of more jobs.

Robert, we're actually missing a piece of information to make the conclusion that you just made. We don't know how big the original trash cans these are replacing were. You're assuming that they were around 60 gallons, but I bet they were smaller, resulting in the need to pick up more regularly. Plus with a conventional trash can as it starts to get close to full the chances of trash falling out or getting blown out by the wind goes up dramatically. To avoid having trash all over the place you'd probably want to empty them at about 3/4 full. That's not as much of an issue with compacted trash, though, so you gain some additional time savings there.

Robert, you assume the same amount of trash gets deposited everyday. That may not be realistic. If some empties out their trunk into a trash can roughly once a week, they would have to check the 60 gallon can nearly everyday. The compacting can, on the other hand, could handle the large deposit in addition to the normal daily deposits. Just one possibility.

This is NUTS, and of course lets us know out here in Americana just how well CA is doing to help its gruesome economy. Do the math!!!!!!!!!!!!! Squandering tax payers money again.

I just hope people recognize they are trash cans and actually use them. They look like brown mailboxes; hopefully people aren't putting UPS packages in there to mail. Pasadena should also spend some money teaching people what a trash can is, and how to use it. I see many people just drop their trash in the street, even if there is a public trash can right there. The worst problem is around In-N-Out burger; that place should be SHUT DOWN, as it doesn't have parking or seating for its customers, and they do nothing to clean up their mess. The whole area for blocks around that place is littered with their food boxes and drink cups.

Hmm... What about the eco-scavengers that pick out the recyclable material (plastic bottles & aluminum cans) from the waste stream? These folks reduce the quantity of solid waste while providing a recycling service.

Seems the compacting trash cans may eliminate some recycling opportunities while reducing truck servicing.

So will they reduce headcount because they are only making one trip vs. five? Not likely.

Initally, when I saw this story the idea of spending that kind of money for self compacting cans seemed beyond rediculous and I half-seriously came up with an alternative solution.

It seems that whenever I'm on Colorado in Pasadena, I'm asked, "...do you got any change, Man..?.." by what appears to be very able bodied young people of both genders.

Now my solution is that the City of Pasadena hire these people, arm them with a step ladder, some kind of trash compressing tool (Cal Tech could design one, I'm sure), high visibility jump suits and just have them go out on a route, carefully step into the cans (hence the step-ladder and partner) and compact the trash.

Seems very Old School, and in some cases these folks would be going through the cans anyway so why not organize it and pay them to do it? Be a bit better than begging on the street for change.

They have not factored in repair cost, or battery replacement. These things don't run forever.

gman, a lot of municipalities in southern California team up with hauling companies that divert recyclables out of the waste stream. Google Crown Disposal and Community Recycling. They hold the trash contracts for most of the San Fernando Valley and run their own mixed waste processing facility for the City of Los Angeles. Anything recyclable in the waste stream gets diverted.

Seems like a good idea. And the hard facts - greater capacity, fewer pick-ups - support the idea. Not sure this would lead to job cuts as suggested, but maybe a re=deployment of man-power. But anything that involves saving money over the long-term and incorporating green power, I'm for.

this is insane...

something tells me the standard can w/o buil in solar compactor,
is far greener ...maybe i'm crazy....



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