The city of Quincy, just outside of Boston, recently received $50,000 from a local supermarket chain, Stop & Shop. The town used this donation to purchase 10 solar trash bins, known as “Big Bellys”, for the downtown area known as Quincy Center. These trash bins use photovoltaic cells to power a compactor that lies within their casing. The use of a compactor allows these trash bins to hold five times the amount of garbage of a regular trash can. In addition, each of these trash cans is able to send a signal to the city’s Public Works Department notifying them that they are full.

The Boston suburb believes that these trash cans will help reduce inefficiencies in their waste collection service. Not only will these trash cans hold a lot more waste than the average bin, but they’ll also allow sanitation workers to hold off collection until the bins are completely full. Low-tech trash containers have to be picked up according to a schedule, regardless of how full they are. So instead of emptying half-filled bins, workers can focus on other tasks until they receive a full signal from the bins.

The city of Boston itself has plans to install up to 400 of these Big Belly trash bins throughout the downtown area. These garbage bins will be added to the city’s retinue of dump trucks, roll off dumpsters, and street sweepers as part of its ongoing goal to reduce waste.

Using solar-powered trash cans is the latest initiative that cities around the Boston area have put forward to help improve their green reputations. Many residents support improvements in waste management, whether its through Boston’s dumpster services or the city’s trash pick-up service. As these waste management services incorporate more technology, residents will benefit from faster and more efficient trash removal. And down the road, these efficiencies could translate into saving more money.