Winnipeg to test solar-powered public trash compactors

The City of Winnipeg plans to test solar-powered garbage and recycling compactors in an effort to save fuel and money.

Intent is to save fuel and money used for litter collection and ideally reduce overflowing trash bins

Winnipeg plans to test out 15 solar-powered waste compactors to reduce trash and recycling pickup frequency and save money on related costs. (Supplied by City of Winnipeg)

The City of Winnipeg plans to test solar-powered garbage and recycling compactors in an effort to save fuel and money — and eventually reduce the number of overflowing litter bins.

A new report to city council's innovation committee calls for the city to spend $90,000 to purchase 15 solar compactors and place one in each of the city's wards as part of a pilot project.

The money would come from the $1-million innovation capital fund, which is set aside for technological or systemic innovations.

In a report to the innovation committee, Winnipeg street maintenance manager Cheryl Anderson says the compactors can remotely measure the amount of garbage and recycling, compact the materials to allow up to eight times more waste to fit into a container and then send an email alert for collection.

"Industry research has shown that this system has the potential to reduce the number of collections by 80 per cent and collection costs by 75 per cent," Anderson wrote.

"Fuel savings and CO2 emissions will still have to be measured based on future collection requirements and location setup. This system is detailed in the attached brochure."

The hope is the compactors will alleviate the problem of overflowing litter boxes.

The city collects garbage from more than 4,300 litter containers on streets, boulevards and paths, and in parks, playgrounds, community centres and athletic fields, Anderson said.

"Over the years, operational challenges on collection of these containers has been related to frequency of collection and volume availability at each receptacle," she said.

Innovation committee will consider the request on Monday.