People wandering the streets of Philadelphia may be surprised to see brand new solar-studded trash cans being installed on the sidewalks. These new landfill-crunching compacting bins are entirely powered by the sun and are able to accept close to eight times as much waste as a regular trash can. Pretty cool, we thought – especially once we found out that they are calling the new bins Big Bellys and that they stand to save the city close to 12 million dollars over 10 years!

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The first Big Belly was recently inaugurated by Mayor Nutter at 15th Street and JFK boulevard at JFK Plaza. Over 500 of the units will be installed by July, with 210 of those featuring an additional recycling bin component, a first for the city. Since the compacting bins only have to be emptied 5 times per week (verses regular bins which must be emptied 19 times), the city stands to save big on staff time, fuel costs, and greenhouse gas emissions

Philly is not the only city with a Big Belly – the machines are also popping up in Drexel University, University of Pennsylvania, Chicago’s Millenium Park and Boston’s Fenway Park.

+ Big Belly Solar