Downtown El Paso To Receive Solar-Powered Trash Bins

Downtown El Paso To Receive Solar-Powered Trash Bins

POSTED: Thursday, June 2, 2011 - 12:38pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 9:16am

EL PASO- Downtown El Paso is receiving solar-powered trash compacting bins thanks to a federal energy-related grant.

A total of 73 BigBelly bins are being placed in the Golden Horseshoe District. They will replace nearly 40 percent of the 200 green rod-iron trash bins in the area for public use.

Each new bin cost about $4,000. The project is funded through a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment grant.

The BigBelly trash bins are about the same size as the City’s green rod-iron trash bin but have about five times their capacity because they use solar power to compact trash.

The new bins also have an electronic notification system that transmits a message when they are full. This technology should allow Environmental Services to significantly reduce its collection frequency for trash in the Golden Horseshoe District. Currently, the public trash bins in the district are collected twice a day, seven days per week.

A recent two-week pilot testing period of a Big Belly bin place in Downtown revealed that its collection frequency was reduced to twice a week, compared to 14 times a week for a conventional bin. Once all the new bins are installed, if their performance mirrors that of the pilot project, the City will see a savings in fuel costs and would be able to reallocate its staffing resources to other environmental programs.

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This is all well & fine, but there are hundreds of thousands of square feet sitting atop El Paso's homes, government buildings, schools, etc. that could be used to install solar panels. Don't even try telling me that the start-up costs of such a thing isn't worth it in the long run, because you'd be talking out of your blowhole. There's no reason why City Council can't mandate that all new homes built in the city limits MUST have solar power to compensate for at LEAST 75% of a home's energy use.

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