City workers will have fewer trips to empty trash which in turn reduces congestion, gasoline, and diesel exhaust. The company claims that four out of five trips could be eliminated and the savings from less disposals would cover the $4,000 of up-front costs within only a couple years.
The first version of the BigBelly was a bit more boxy and large versus the current edition which is 25 percent smaller. To better protect the solar panels, BigBelly has added hard ABS plastic as a cover which is the same material used on hockey rinks. They’ve also added recycled plastics to the hopper for people to pull down before dumping the trash.
So far they have sold about 1,000 BigBelly units based on the environmental attributes offered to cities and towns, which has caught a lot of press with mayors. BigBellys are operating in Vancover, British Columbia; Boston, MA; Queen, New York; and Ventura, CA.
In the next few months, the company is looking to add more intelligence to the unit by including a remote communications ability to provide their customers with more information about the collection system and make it even more efficient.