City of Ames installs solar trash compactors

Moriah Morgan

The city of Ames has decided to take the next step in sustainability. On Wednesday, BigBelly Solar intelligent waste and recycling collection systems were installed in high traffic pocket parks at the corner of Welch Avenue and Chamberlin Street as well as in Tom Evans Park at Main Street and Burnett Avenue.

“We take sustainability seriously,” said Susan Gwiasda, public relation officer for Ames, when asked about why they were installing the new solar powered trash compactors. The trash compactors will cut down on the number of trash collection visits which in turn will lower costs, minimize pollution and lead to less congestion. This is because not only do the cans hold more trash, but the BigBelly system uses wireless technology to alert city staff when the trash needs to be emptied.

The trash from the solar compactors will be taken with the rest of Ames’ trash to the Resource Recovery Plant. There the trash will be separated. Metals are taken out and sold to a scrap dealer for recycling. The burnable portion is used as refuse derived fuel and is piped to the City’s power plant while the non-burnable is shredded so that it takes up significantly less space and is sent to the landfill. John Pohlman, superintendent of the Resource Recovery Plant, is very optimistic about the city’s next step in saving money and becoming a more sustainable city.

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