Test driving a solar-powered trash compactor

This solar-powered trash/recycling unit recently appeared outside the City of Asheville’s Public Works and Development Services building on South Charlotte Street. The city’s Solid Waste manager Wendy Simmons says the Public Works Department is testing out the combination recycling and trash container, provided by Waste Management, which is designed to encourage recycling while reducing the amount of times trash needs collecting.

The trash can portion of the unit sports a solar-powered compactor allowing it to contain up to five times the amount of trash as regular cans. It can even be set to alert sanitation staff via text message when it is full. That could mean a big reduction in the need for trash collection, Simons says. Meanwhile, an attached recycling component makes it easier for people to choose to recycle rather than throw away cans or bottles.

Public Works is currently only demoing the unit, and plans to install a second one in a to-be-determined location in downtown Asheville, but the research is part of a larger effort to explore options to increase recycling and reduce waste that goes into the landfill.

“The Sanitation division is constantly examining new options for reaching waste reduction goals within the city and encourage recycling,” Simmons says. “And this design is another opportunity for us to test new technology.”

Have ideas or feedback? Contact the Sanitation Division at 259-5857 or wsimmons@ashevillenc.gov.