Jack discovers a solar-powered trash compactor in Jerusalem.
I stepped off the bus this evening and standing on the sidewalk before me was this great alien looking device. It was about two-thirds my height, a bit wider, but square, with flashing lights emitting from the top. This device, while it appeared to come from another planet or dimension, it seems was a garbage can, a BigBelly compactor, solar-style.
Jerusalem’s municipality has placed its first solar-powered garbage compactor on Jaffa Road, in front of Safra Square, the municipality complex. These solar-powered garbage cans can hold upto 750 liters (200 gallons) of compacted waste even though it is only 150 liters in size.
The can has a built-in solar-powered compression system that can compress garbage to up to a fifth of its volume and operates for up to five days on the power supplied by just one hour of sunlight.
It seems that Jerusalem is not the only city to adopt this technology. Many large cities around the world seems to have a several including New York, Chicago and Boston. The debate is: “Do we like them?”
Compacted trash is great if you’re looking to fit the maximum amount of waste into collection trucks, or landfills. But, on the flipside now your landfills get no oxygen, since they’re so perfectly compacted. Without oxygen, there can be no decomposition. Landfills end up being giant storage heaps for trash.
Which, again, is fine, if you want to keep your trash forever. But wasn’t getting rid of it the point of making it trash in the first place?
The bottom line? While it’s a pity that the development of the recycling program in Israel is slow, it seems that these “Big Bellies” save the municipality workers many trips. Apparently a “busy trash can” needs to be empties several times a day. If the city can save time and gasoline by only needing to take out the trash once a day then I bless their endeavor. My feelings are, though, with the speed that it takes for our city to adopt good practices that that will be the only one I ever see in the city.