Saturday, June 13, 2009

Waste Management crushed by solar trash cans

Who knew America's mayors were so interested in trash?

Garbage removal heavyweight Waste Management announced this week at the U.S. Conference of Mayors that it will distribute BigBelly Solar's solar-powered trash compactor in North America.

Waste Management expects to sell them to municipal governments and other organizations responsible for garbage at public places, such as sports venues. Fifteen of the BigBelly Solar units are installed at a retail center adjacent to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., home of the New England Patriots. Numerous cities and towns in the U.S. have also purchased them.

The BigBelly Solar compactors look like a typical street-side trash can except they are outfitted with solar panels on the top. The solar panel powers a motor that crushes the trash, which means that pick-ups can be done less often. The newest versions of the compactors are now network-equipped to send a signal when they are full.

The compactors themselves are made from recycled materials and work in areas that don't receive direct sunlight, said Richard Kennelly, vice president of marketing for BigBelly Solar, in a statement.

The exclusive distribution deal with Waste Management is a big win for Needham, Mass.-based BigBelly Solar which was started a few years ago and quickly found receptive customers in city mayors in Boston, Philadelphia, and other places.

The company raised an additional $3.2 million from undisclosed investors, according to an SEC filing made public last month.

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