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BigBelly Solar-Powered Trash Can - Good/Evil?

BigBelly, a free-standing, solar-powered trash can that can compact its own trash, has found fans in the Chicago Park District. They've installed 25 of them.


(BigBelly Solar-Powered Trash Can/Compactor)

They can store 4-6 times as much as an ordinary can, because they compact the trash once it reaches a particular height in the can. BigBelly can perform this compaction because it has a 12 volt battery kept constantly charged by the solar panel on top of the can.

Groundskeepers spend less time emptying BigBellies (I assume that's the plural) because they get full less often, saving money.

Here's where the good/evil part comes in (via Treehugger):

The real trouble is that [BigBelly is] generating compacted trash. And that brings it's own set of problems... Compacted trash is great if you're looking to fit the maximum amount of waste into collection trucks, or landfills. But the flipside of that benefit is that now your landfills get no oxygen, since they're so perfectly compacted. And without oxygen, you don't get decomposition. You get preservation.

Science fiction precursor? Natch:

She spotted it loitering near a pair of fisherman, who stood in hip boots in the gentle surf. She called out. "Trash can!"

The can pivoted on broad rubber treads and rolled toward her voice. It snuffled across the beach, mapping its way with bursts of infrasound….

The can intoned. "Galveston appreciates good citizenship. Would you like to register for a valuable cash prize?"
(Read more about Bruce Sterling's solar-powered talking trash can from Islands in the Net)

So, is BigBelly good or evil? Roland Piquepaille wants to know what you think - see his more detailed article at Primidi and tell him what you think.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/19/2007)

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