Solar-powered, high-tech garbage cans are to be installed on the lakeshore in Chicago, which the city hopes will help reduce the amount of garbage that collects on the beaches in summertime.
"The 'BigBelly' devices-already in use in a handful of cities including New York and Boston-use solar panels to recharge a 12-volt battery powering the compactor's electrical motor. The metal containers, resembling deposit bins for library books, also will save energy by requiring fewer trash pickups."
"BigBelly containers have done well in a downtown test run, requiring only one-fourth of the pickups of normal trash bins, city officials said."
"The compactors can hold four to five times more garbage than the regular 95-gallon bins currently used, district officials said. When trash levels reach a certain level, an optical beam is broken, and the container compacts the trash, making space for more garbage. Lights outside the container indicate if the device is full, compacting or ready to take more garbage."