Granite gets solar-powered garbage can

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2011

By Mark Wineka
GRANITE QUARRY — When the sun shines, the garbage will grind.
Waste Management has donated a solar-powered trash compactor — the first of its kind in the region — to the town of Granite Quarry.
It may represent the trash can of the future.
“Granite Quarry leads the way in a whole lot of things,” Mayor Mary Ponds said. “We don’t mind setting the way for others to follow. It’s all about going green.”
The solar trash compactor will be placed at the town’s Granite Lake Park.
Waste Management promotes the compactor, which is about the same size as a standard 35-gallon trash barrel, as having five times greater capacity, meaning it can reduce the collection trips needed to empty it by 80 percent.
That translates to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the company claims, while it also saves 80 percent in fuel, labor and maintenance costs.
When the trash receptacle reaches capacity, sensors trigger an internal, solar-powered compactor that flattens the contents, converting 180 gallons of waste in all into “easy-to-collect” bags, Waste Management says.
The units also can be equipped with a wireless system, signaling that the unit is ready to be picked up.
Waste Management says the trash compactors have been used in many cities and public venues around the country.
“Our compactors are another example of how we are constantly looking for new ways to better manage waste and assist in meeting sustainable goals,” Stan Joseph, public affairs manager for Waste Management, said in a press release.
Joseph planned to attend the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen’s meeting Monday night but could not make it.
Ponds said the town is always looking for ways “to reduce our carbon footprint and make the earth a greener place.”
Elsewhere, Waste Management offers solar compactors to municipalities through purchase or leasing plans. It says the compactors are made from recycled materials.
Who knows, the solar system of the future might involve trash cans, not planets.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.