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Williamsburg, Greenpoint Getting Nearly 200 Big Belly Solar Trash Cans

By Serena Dai | June 15, 2015 6:16pm
 Nearly 200 Big Belly Solar Trash cans will be going up in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
Nearly 200 Big Belly Solar Trash cans will be going up in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
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Columbus Avenue BID

WILLIAMSBURG — Nearly 200 Big Belly Solar compactor trash cans will soon be placed on commercial corridors in Williamsburg and Greenpoint as part of a one-year pilot program, officials said.

The city's Department of Sanitation said that the 192 solar-powered trash compactors have been shipped and will replace the city's wire-mesh litter baskets in coming weeks, a spokeswoman said.

They'll be spread across several highly trafficked corridors, including Bedford Avenue, Grand Street, Broadway, Manahttan Avenue, Graham Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue.

The sanitation department will pick them up three times a week during regular collection, the spokeswoman said.

After one year, the department will decide how well the solar-powered trash cans are working on the regular litter collection route.

It's DSNY's "latest test of an innovative technology to keep our sidewalks clean and our neighborhoods healthy and safe," the spokeswoman said in a statement.

Each can costs $2,900, according to DSNY. The area was chosen after groups such as the Greenpoint Chamber of Commerce sought to place the solar compactors in the neighborhood, the spokeswoman said.

Big Belly's website says one of their cans can compact up to 150 gallons of trash, compared to 35 gallons that a regular, uncompacted can typically holds.

But Community Board 1 blasted the city for not including them in the decision making, saying that people who live in the area could help pilot programs roll out more smoothly.

Chairwoman Dealice Fuller wrote in a letter dated last Friday that the board has "extreme outrage at the DSNY's most recent idiocy."

Fuller told DNAinfo New York that while the board isn't opposed to the introduction of solar trash cans, it's important for the city to correspond with locals about big changes like this. The board only found out on Thursday, just a few days before the trash cans were shipped.

Residents could provide input on where the trash cans go and bring up potential pitfalls regarding health, clutter and traffic, she said.

"There was no prior discussion or consultation with the Community Board No. 1 on these sidewalk obstructions," Fuller wrote in the letter to Commissioner Kathryn Garcia.

"The old standby wire litter baskets sitting on many of our busy intersections are being replaced by these Big Belly mechanical monsters."

News that Williamsburg and Greenpoint would be home to the pilot program follows another recent change in the area spearheaded by DSNY.

Community Board 1 also opposed Greenpoint as a pilot area for composting due to an expected increase in the number of sanitation trucks in the neighborhood.

"It's two tests going on at the same time," Fuller told DNAinfo. "One will clutter the sidewalks. One will clutter the streets. We're just being oversaturated with new things that come into the community. It seems like we're the dumping ground."

Fuller said that DSNY has not responded to letters that the board sent regarding the composting program or the Big Belly program.

Not including the board in discussions violates the spirit of the City Charter, her letter said.

"We live here. We see things they don’t see," Fuller said. "Give us a seat at the table, so we can help them make the pilot program transition easy."