Philadelphia quickly jumped to the top of the list for the nations Big Bellies. The Big Belly trash compactor that is. The city recently rolled out 500 of the solar powered trash compactors along several major trash collection routes.
I am excited by this story for a few reasons. First as an engineer I think these compactors are great. We have seen a few of these pop up on the streets recently and people seem to get excited to use the trash can. I think they are curious to know exactly what is going on inside the beast when they hear it start up and perform its compacting cycle. Second the compactors can hold alot more garbage than a standard can, the 32 gallon compactors are capable of holding 150 to 200 gallons of trash, and that means cities save money and keep the streets a little cleaner. The resources saved on the new compactor routes are being deployed to other parts of the city where more cleanup is required. The city is also pairing the Big Belly compactors with a recycling container to encourage people to separate their waste and keep the streets clean.
Check out the article on USA Today for more details and if you see one of the solar compactors on the street in Philly, or in any other city, check them out.