Onondaga County uses Big Bellies to cut financial fat

Big Belly solar trash compactor on the corner of State and Harrison streets in downtown Syracuse.

The next time you throw away some garbage in a public area of Onondaga County, you may notice the trash receptacle looks a bit different. Thatâ??s because Onondaga County has installed a second â??Big Bellyâ?? solar powered trash compactor at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. You can read more about the Big Belly units



As Matthew Mallea, Deputy County Executive of Physical Services tells me, â??it has 5 times the capacity of a traditional trash can. It also communicates through the internet back to our facilities department, and tells us when itâ??s full and needs to be emptied, which saves us the time of coming out and checking it everyday and emptying it when itâ??s a third or quarter full.â??

This would mean less manpower needed, and therefore a financial savings. I asked Lee Klosowski, Director of Energy and Sustainability, about what kind of environmental impact these Big Bellies could have.

â??Because you are compacting the trash, it would minimize the number of times youâ??d have to send people out to empty the trash, therefore reduce your greenhouse gas emissions that were the result of the collection vehicles.â??

The thought of going green, and just as importantly, saving some green, has Mallea believing youâ??ll be seeing plenty more of the sleek-bodied Big Bellies soon.

â??We'd love to see hundreds of them, all over the place. We hope to see a widespread deployment up at the zoo. We have one we're putting up at the zoo today, I think we could see 10 to 15 at the zoo by the end of the summer perhaps. And, we're talking with the city (of Syracuse) right now about them learning from our experience with these and hopefully partnering with the city, we can get these all over."

With an outlook like this, a mere traditional garbage can may soon end up looking simply archaic.