Solar-Powered Trash Compactor


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Last week when I was in Sedona, Arizona I came across a rather fancy looking trash can out behind the coffee shop I had just purchased a cup of java from. I spent a few minutes looking at it as I had never seen such a nice trash can, and then I realized what was on the top of the unit — solar panels! Once I noticed that I took some time to read the information on the can itself and found out that it was actually a solar-powered trash compactor from Waste Management. Once I got home I looked them up online and this is what WM says about the compactors:

  • A better way to keep public spaces clean.Ordinary municipal trash barrels often overfow. The Waste Management Solar-Powered Trash Compactor holds five times as much refuse – and signals when it’s ready for pick-up.
  • Vastly reduces waste collection expenses.Because it has five times greater capacity, the compactor can reduce the number of collection trips by 80%. Fewer collections mean 80% savings in fuel, labor and maintenance costs, and an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Powered by the sun. Made from recycled materials, the Waste Management Solar-Powered Trash Compactor works even in areas that don’t receive direct sunlight.
  • Small, but with huge capacity. About the same size as a standard 35-gallon trash barrel, the compactors have a small footprint. But, thanks to patented solar-powered compression technology, they can hold about five times as much trash.
  • So tech-savvy it tells you when it’s full. When a unit reaches capacity, sensors trigger an internal compactor that flattens the contents, converting 180 gallons of waste into easy-to-collect bags. A wireless system then signals that the can is ready to be picked up.

I snapped the picture below of the can so you guys could see what they looked like:

I have been a vocal critic of Waste Management and their filthy, polluting trucks in the past, but I do really appreciate what they are doing with these new trash compactor receptacles. Hopefully they catch on and we all start seeing them around our own towns. Well, that and I hope they start cleaning up their truck emissions, too.

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  1. Texas A&M put a few solar compactors around campus a couple years ago… the placement seemed a little less than ideal though. They just replaced the existing cans, which were placed in the shade.

    Photos at the “Overheard at Texas A&M” facebook group.

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