The Town of Wake Forest recently unveiled several Bigbelly Solar Trash and Recycling compactor units in public spaces around town.
Throughout late June and early July, town crews installed eight Bigbelly receptacles in seven locations, including three town parks and along South White Street. Four of the units are trash and recycling containers, while the other four are trash units only.
Bigbelly receptacles are high-tech trash compacting containers that use solar power to compact trash. While each container has the same general “footprint” as a standard 35-gallon open top container, each unit’s compacting function allows the new containers to hold up to 150 gallons of trash, thus eliminating the need for more receptacles.
The units also use smart technology to notify town staff via email when they need to be emptied.
A system dashboard collects monitoring, routing information, and real-time and historical data from each unit to optimize the collection process. This information helps ensure the containers are emptied before they overflow, while also eliminating the need for crews to make unnecessary trips to empty containers that are not full.
This data is expected to help reduce collection frequency by as much as 80 percent on average.
“Instead of going several times a week to check on the trash receptacles, we can now go on average once a week,” said Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Director Ruben Wall. “So not only are we saving on the number of trash cans we’re emptying, we’re also saving on the number of times we’re going. This allows our crews to do their work more efficiently.”
Wall said the PRCR Department studied which of the town’s parks and facilities had the highest volume of waste collection, then made the decision to install single trash and recycling units at E. Carroll Joyner Park and Flaherty Park. The department also installed two trash units at Heritage High Park. In the coming months, additional receptacles will be placed strategically in more remote areas of town parks and greenways that take longer for crews to access.
Echoing Wall’s theme of greater efficiency, Public Works & Utilities Director Mike Barton said town crews installed four Bigbelly receptacles along South White Street to help make trash pickup in downtown more efficient. According to Barton, duo trash and recycling units are located in the vicinity of Las Margaritas, 111 S. White St., and the Wake Forest Coffee Co., 156 S. White St., while single trash receptacles are situated near B& W Hardware, 232 S. White St., and the Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce, 350 S. White St.
As an added bonus, each Bigbelly container has a closable door that prevents animals from foraging and keeps the wind from blowing trash out.
The town is currently leasing the trash and recycling units for $185/month and the trash units for $107/month. Town officials say in the long term the receptacles will result in significant savings in labor costs and free workers to do other jobs.
— August 2016