Talkin’ Trash with BigBelly Solar in Rosslyn
Since 2010, Rosslyn’s Waste and Recycling Program Has Been Top Notch
Five years ago, Rosslyn, Va., didn’t have BigBellies, those sleek, modern-looking trash and recycling bins found on nearly every block throughout the district. Instead, Rosslyn had classic Victor Stanley waste bins common throughout much of Arlington County.
The switch to BigBelly Solar, a greener alternative, came about five years ago when Arlington County trash collection frequency in Rosslyn decreased from daily to twice a week. Concerned about the potential for trash buildup, the Rosslyn BID got in touch with BigBelly Solar for help and advice.
Started in Boston in 2003, BigBelly Solar aims to make waste collection cleaner and more efficient through use of their closed, solar compacting trash cans; closed recycling bins, which reduce the amount of waste going to landfills; and newer “smart” trash cans that use a cloud-based management console to give collection staff real-time data on if a can needs to be emptied.
Impressed by BigBelly’s products, in 2010 Rosslyn became the first business improvement district in the D.C. area to add BigBelly trash cans and duo-stations (trash and recycling combo units) to their jurisdiction. The result? A cleaner Rosslyn and a more efficient trash collection system.
Because BigBelly trash cans use solar power to compact trash, each one holds 4-5x more trash than a traditional 32-gallon receptacle, reducing the number of times BID Ambassadors need to empty them. More recently, the BID added SmartBelly units to Rosslyn’s trash-collecting arsenal. Ambassador staff receive text messages alerting them when these cans, which also compact trash with solar power, need to be emptied. Trash and recycling collected by Ambassadors is deposited in one location, where it is later disposed of by Arlington County.
“Since the BigBellies hold more, they only need to be emptied twice a week, and this saves the Ambassadors a lot of time,” says BID Operations Manager Victor Carcamo. “It also helps that the receptacles are a closed system. They don’t attract rodents and they reduce waste on the ground, which has been important in maintaining Rosslyn’s cleanliness overall.”
“Our program for collecting trash and recycling doesn’t get highlighted a lot, yet it directly supports our goal of ensuring that Rosslyn is a welcoming and attractive downtown area,” says BID President Mary-Claire Burick. “BigBelly has been a terrific partner to Rosslyn in keeping the BID neighborhood clean, and doing so in a way that’s more efficient and better for the environment. We’re proud to highlight this important partnership.”