September 2010 home page

  DM Gets BigBellys
But Hopes to Reduce!
Dan Nore | 25th Street

Photo Dan Nore

You may notice a couple of BigBellys hanging out at Powerhouse Park and near the 17th Street Lifeguard Tower. Unlike some amply proportioned out-of-town visitors, these BigBellys are here to help Del Mar reduce the number of truck trips to empty trash, the number of plastic garbage bags sent to land fill, and to reduce the amount of trash scattered by our resident seagulls. Thanks to grants from Keep Del Mar Clean and the Del Mar Foundation, the Energy Issues Advisory Committee (EIAC) was able to launch a pilot test of two BigBelly solar compacting trash cans. The high-tech trash cans are paired with a recycling container for bottles and cans.

Operationally the pilot will provide metrics to assess the potential economic savings for the City. Del Mar is a small coastal city with a number of highly utilized open space parks and beach access points that front the ocean (Sea Grove and Powerhouse parks). The City’s Beach Maintenance staff expends significant effort to collect and control trash in these locations. A solar compacting trash receptacle is completely self-powered. Instead of requiring an electrical connection, it uses solar power for 100% of its energy needs. The unit takes up as much space as the “footprint” of an ordinary receptacle—but its capacity is five times greater. Increased capacity reduces collection trips and can cut fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by 80%.

The equipment is also expected to improve the appearance of trash receptacles (an alternative to our beloved gray trash cans) and raise awareness of park and beach visitors. Keep Del Mar Clean has worked closely with the City’s Beach Maintenance organization to support trash collection and maintain trash receptacles successfully for many years. Ed Yuskiewicz, a founder of the Keep Del Mar Clean organization, stated “We all take pride in Del Mar’s clean beaches, parks, and streets. The BigBelly equipment is an attention getter. We see the BigBelly pilot project as a follow-on to past efforts.”

The Del Mar BigBelly pilot will run through November. I encourage everyone to check out and test drive the BigBelly units. Please feel free to contribute one or two recyclable items when you do. Revenue from recyclables will be tracked and assessed during the pilot. Again, a big thanks to the Keep Del Mar Clean and Del Mar Foundation for funding this exciting pilot of innovative Green Technology that is a win-win for Del Mar and those that cherish our beautiful coastal environment.

Photo Dan Nore


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