Big Belly solar trash compactors have been talked about a lot lately. The idea is that because they hold more trash, garbage collectors only have to pick it up one-fifth as often, thus saving gas (and the garbage collectors’ time). It sounds great, but I’m not sure the product’s quite there yet.
A couple years ago Big Bellies were put in down the street from where I work, and Berklee even sponsored one. Since then I’ve become disillusioned with them. For one thing, they quickly became even more disgusting than regular trash cans. I don’t know if it’s the compacting action or the relatively small slot for trash to fit into, but they get sticky and dirty, and even stain the sidewalk around them.
For another thing, you actually have to touch a handle to open the slot. Just think of all the germs passed from person to person on that grimy handle. *shudder* I can’t think of a more unsanitary design for an outdoor trash can.
The city actually removed the two Big Bellies on Newbury Street recently, and you can still see the stains they left. The one on Mass. Ave. seems to be faring better—maybe it’s a newer model or was installed more recently?
So while Big Belly promoters have their hearts in the right place, I don’t think it’s practical yet. Maybe if it was redesigned with a motion detector to open the slot? Or had a funnel or something to collect the water that drips out? Come on trash can designers, I know you can think of something.