Did you think technology is just for cell phones and computers? Oh no! Even trash cans are getting futuristic.

The Upper West Side just got its first solar-powered trash can, located on the corner of Columbus Avenue and 77th street, right in front of Shake Shack. Why would a trash can need solar energy, you ask? Doesn’t sun and heat just make garbage smell worse?

Well, yes. But this is a special garbage can, that takes trash and then compacts it inside the receptacle so that you can dump more and more trash in there before a truck has to come to haul it away. In fact the BigBelly solar-powered cans can hold as much as 150 gallons of compacted trash.

It was installed on Feb. 1, as first reported by DNAinfo, and it’s sponsored by Shake Shack, whose patrons create much of the trash on that corner. It cost about $3,000.

There could soon be more like it on Columbus Avenue and around Verdi Square at 72nd Street. The can has a hinged door so that rats and other vermin can’t get in.

Image courtesy of DNAinfo/Emily Frost.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 6 comments | permalink
    1. Rat A. Tooey says:

      Re: “The can has a hinged door so that rats and other vermin can’t get in.”

      Foist of all, who ya callin a v-e-r-m-i-n, you un-furred tail-less biped !!

      Second-of-all, why can’t us four-footed types be able to enjoy leftovers. Sure, put them in the compactor, but leave some way for us to get in and out.

      Ya mean TOURISTS can enjoy shakes with mix-ins like Chocolate truffle cookie dough, or
      Chocolate toffee, or Hazelnut brown butter streusel, or Bacon peanut brittle, or even

      But REAL NYers (like me, my friends and family CAN’T?

      FOR SHAME!!

      –Rat A. Tooey

    2. richardgbruno@gmail.com says:

      Compacting is only part of the story, and not the most important part. The solar panel more importantly powers a transmitter that can let dispatchers know when the receptacle is full, thus making pickups more efficient.

    3. Ken says:

      How much does 150 gallons of compacted trash weigh?

    4. NikFromNYC says:

      When’s the last time *you* bought a $3K garbage can because it would “save you money?” For that price it should come with a free vacation and a rat trap feature too.

    5. Liz says:

      This is a great idea. Verdi Square is a really scary late at night. I call it “rat park”. You have to really keep your eyes open and have good reflexes so you can dodge the rats that scurry across the plaza with impunity.

      Those rats are the size of a small cat. It’s obvious the rats feed off of the garbage that overflows from the cans surrounding the park.

      The idea is a perfect solution from a health standpoint as well as an ecological standpoint. Compacted garbage takes up less land fill space. Also, with open space at a premium on the Upper West Side it also makes areas such as Verdi Square a more user friendly, aesthetically pleasing environment.

      • Eve says:

        Not a good idea ecologically. Compacted garbage takes up the same amount of space in a landfill as noncompacted. It’s all dumped out and compacted down with a big truck and then covered with fill. Also, compacted garbage is much harder to get the recyclables out of than non compacted garbage.Zero Waste, people!