Visiting my family and friends in Chicago this past weekend I noticed a new addition to the sidewalks of densely populated Michigan Avenue. Solar powered trash cans. After looking into it further, I found there are more than 400 in Chicago along with several other cities across the U.S.
These very modern, earth-friendly trash cans automatically crush the garbage down using a 12-volt battery that is powered by a solar panel. This technology makes more space in the can which in turn decreases the number of times it needs to be emptied. This equals reduced fuel consumption, air pollution and better use of our sun’s energy. These solar-powered garbage receptacles also send a message when it’s time for collection. These new garbage cans can also add up to big savings for cities adopting them. The city of Philadelphia aims to save up to $13 million in the next 10 years by switching to solar powered waste cans.
In addition to garbage cans, there are also receptacles for composting and recycling. These bins are great for helping to educate about how waste items are classified and why its important to compost and recycle. This solution gets two birds with one can: education and smart use of renewable energy.