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Waste & Recycling December 07, 2017 08:30:08 AM

Publicly Funded Solar-Powered Compactors on the Table for Indiana County

Waste Advantage
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Publicly funded solar-powered trash and recycling compactors – one option costing $43,000 – are under consideration for purchase or rental by Evansville and Vanderburgh County officials.
Publicly Funded Solar-Powered Compactors on the Table for Indiana County

SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): Publicly funded solar-powered trash and recycling compactors – one option costing $43,000 – are under consideration for purchase or rental by Evansville and Vanderburgh County officials.

The Vanderburgh County Solid Waste Management District, a board comprised of elected city and county officials, has asked district director Joe Ballard to investigate potential alternatives to renting four dual containers – a litter container on one side and a recycling container on the other – for $43,000 over five years. There is also an option to buy from another company for about $29,500.

Ballard said he will spend the next several weeks canvassing manufacturers of similar devices in hopes of finding cheaper alternatives.

“I don’t know if ‘need’ is the right word – we ‘like’ this,” Ballard said, noting that local officials suggested it after seeing a public presentation on the subject.

Two of the dual containers would be placed in as-yet undesignated public spaces in unincorporated Vanderburgh County. A tentative decision has been made to put the other two in the city at Haynie’s Corner, which Ballard acknowledged doesn’t generate large amounts of trash.

 “I guess we could (put the containers in an area that generates more refuse),” he said. “That was just an area we had talked about. It’s kind of a newer area. There’s a lot going on there. It’s pretty busy during the summer. I’m open to change if we do this.”

The solar compactors would not replace traditional trash cans currently in place, Ballard said, but would add to them.

The $43,000 rental option, Ballard said, would be “very cool – and very expensive.” The containers are manufactured by Massachusetts-based Bigbelly with compactors for trash and recycling. The bins compact the waste and create more room using energy from the sun. That way, they can hold up to 150 gallons of trash, requiring collection no more than once a week.

Canada-based Ecovision would sell four solar-powered dual containers for slightly more than $29,500.

But there are potential stumbling blocks.

In both cases, the Solid Waste Management District would be responsible for maintenance. City Councilwoman Missy Mosby, that body’s representative to the solid waste board, said people inevitably would put things in the trash compactors that the devices couldn’t compact – and that would generate repair bills.

“The city and the county would be responsible for any maintenance,” Mosby said. “There’s a history of people putting stuff in these things just to see it compact and see what it does — and it breaks them and you’re responsible for it.”

Buying the solar-powered trash compactors from Ecovision would be cheaper, Mosby said, “but once again we have nobody that works on them.”

County Commissioner Bruce Ungethiem, also a member of the solid waste board, bore down on the maintenance issue during the board’s Nov. 14 meeting.

Courtesy: https://wasteadvantagemag.com

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