Uptown Saint John piloting 'smart' solar trash compactors

Uptown Saint John is piloting some solar-powered trash compactors that notify the city when they need to be emptied in response to complaints about overflowing garbage cans.

BigBelly bins use solar energy to compact trash, notify city when they're full

Uptown Saint John is piloting some high-tech trash cans in hopes of handling the city's garbage more efficiently.

The business organization has placed three solar-powered BigBelly compactors near King Street — one at Kings Square, one at the corner of King and Germain streets, and one at the foot of King.

"They compact the garbage, so they hold a lot, in terms of waste," said Anne McShane, chair of Uptown Saint John's environmental committee, Green Feet, and a local shop owner.

"And then they send a message back to the city that tells them when they need to be emptied so they don't need to send people out to check on them every couple of days to see if they're full," she said.

"So they don't need as much babysitting as some of the other garbage cans."

Some business owners had complained about overflowing garbage cans in the uptown, especially some of the high-traffic areas, said McShane.

"If we can keep the streets nice and clean and keep everything in its place, that'll be excellent," she said.

The bins cost about $3,000 each. McShane is encouraging citizens to use them and "put 'em to work" so they can be properly evaluated.

"How effective are these? Do they save a lot of time and energy in city resources to manage them, and do they have a cost-benefit to them?"

If the bins prove successful, more may be added in the future, said McShane.