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Big Belly solar compactor street bins reach 1,000 in UK

A street bin that crushes waste and is powered by solar panels on its top has reached 1,000 instalments in the UK.

The Big Belly Solar Bins are now located in many major cities around the UK, including: Bath, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool and the London borough of Wesminster. The bin firm has contracts with several local authorities, such as Windsor & Maidenhead, Bath & North East Somerset and Pembrokeshire.

There has also been uptake on some university campuses, including Aberdeen University, University of Warwick and University of Dundee.

The bins work by compacting waste as soon as it reaches a certain height in the bin, which is detected by in-built sensors and powered by solar panels. The bins need eight hours of sunlight to be powered for a month.

Don Coughlan, chief executive of Big Belly, told MRW that councils can make savings immediately after installing the bins by cutting the number of collections dramatically, reducing fuel use and increasing collection efficiency.

The bins can hold eight times more than the average street bin, according to the company. The bins’ sensors can also alert waste collection services via a smart system (see below) when they are almost full, which reduces the amount of trips needed to empty street bins.

Andy Crofts, Nottingham City Council city centre manager said: “Our city centre bins are emptied five to six times per day and after installing Big Belly compactors, they reduced that requirement to once every two days. Since installing our 130 Big Bellys we have reduced truck time from 21 hours per day to just 10.5 hours per day and our weekly collection requirements have been reduced from 4,400 to just over 260 collections.”

Big Belly claims local authorities can save £77 per week per bin they install, on average. The company said councils could also generate revenue from a share of advertising on the bins.

It said it expects another 1,000 instalments over the next six months.

Big Belly Solar Bin handheld graphEach compactor comes equipped with a wireless monitoring system enabling collectors to view the real time fill levels of each unit.


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