Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Big Belly Solar Powered “Smart bins” New at Marco Beaches

Big Belly Solar Trash Compactor has built in technology notifying the collector when it’s full. Collier County installed units at South Beach, Tigertail and Caxambas Boat Park. | Photos by Maria Lamb

Yes, you heard it right!  Trash bins are going solar and smart!  These Big Belly Solar Powered trash bins not only collect the trash, but it also compacts them and then transmits a wireless signal to the garbage collectors letting them know it is full and time to pick up!  There is a solar panel on top of the trash unit.

Collier County Parks & Recreation has installed 24 Big Belly Solar Powered Trash Compactors in all its County Parks and beaches. When you stuff large pizza boxes inside the old open top garbage can, it may seem full; trash would often overflow with smelly garbage attracting nuisance wildlife to feast.

According to Barry Williams, Director of Collier County Parks and Recreation, this was a partnership with their Solid and Hazardous Waste Division, and they are “very excited to be participating in a system to keep our beaches clean and pristine.”

Kari Ann Hodgson, Division Director for the Solid Waste Division of Collier County, is excited with the Big Belly’s “technology of notifying when full.”  In addition, Hodgson shared that it was the City of Naples’ purchase of a unit and their success that led the County to explore the Big Belly “smart bin” technology.

James Hodgdon, Parks and Parkways Superintendent for the City of Naples confirmed they installed it at the Naples Pier replacing 6-8 units of their regular trash bins.  They are very pleased with their decision and are now planning to install another unit at Lowdermilk Park.

According to Marco’s City Manager David Harden, Delray Beach installed Big Belly Solar units while he was the manager at the City of Delray Beach, and they were very pleased with how they worked.

In Marco Island, the Big Belly Solar units were installed at Tigertail Beach, South Beach Entrance and Caxambas Boat Park – all county maintained locations. They can fit 180 gallons of waste in one unit; are environmentally friendly; sturdy and wildlife cannot get into it and has a foot pedal for ease of use. The Big Belly Units are two units side by side – one for trash and one for recycling.  The Recycle is not solar powered.

Marco’s beach is experiencing the increased presence of crows due to the high volume of trash on our beaches. Crows were responsible for the collapse of an entire population of nesting Least Terns a couple of years ago. Even now, the large presence of crows continues to threaten the nesting Black Skimmers and Least Terns on Sand Dollar Island.

The Beach and Coastal Resources of Marco Island supports a proposal for Marco Island to install a unit of the Big Belly Solar Powered Trash Compactors at the Winterberry/Collier Blvd. beach entrance.  This beach access is known for its high volume of trash.  Often, the eight old type garbage bins are overflowing with trash – NOT what you want to see on Marco’s beaches.

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