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New 'Big Belly' Trash Containers Now In Waltham

The new units have been installed in downtown Waltham.

These Big Belly trash compactors are being installed in Waltham.
These Big Belly trash compactors are being installed in Waltham.
In an effort to beautify Waltham, the city has installed 11 new large solar-powered trash compactors in the downtown area of Waltham, according to Consolidated Public Works Director Michael Chiasson. 

Called "Big Belly" trash compactors, six have been installed on Moody Street along with two on Main Street near the Dunkin Donuts and Hannaford's supermarket Chiasson said. The remaining two were placed on Carter Street and in front of City Hall, Chiasson said. 

The existing black metal trash cans will be moved to other locations, according to Chiasson. 

The units are designed to hold both trash and recyclables, Chiasson said. One side of the units are for trash while the other is devoted to recyclable items. When the sun emerges, the compactors crush the trash inside which allows additional capacity. 

The city has not yet figured out whether Capitol (the city's trash hauling company) will service the compactors, Chiasson said. However, CPW crews will be able to tell whether they need to be emptied through a monitoring system in their office, Chiasson. That capability, however, will expire in a year, unless the city buys a longer software license. 

A Community Development Block Grant paid for the units and the city has applied for additional funding for more compactors, Chiasson said. 
andipandi January 28, 2014 at 04:11 PM
Glad to hear it. A good investment, now hopefully people can use them properly.
Tim Hill January 28, 2014 at 06:21 PM
A needed improvement, but I am not sure about the decision to put them in place before deciding who will be responsible for servicing them.
Bill L January 28, 2014 at 08:24 PM
But Tim, if they had a plan they would have no excuses, now they can blame capital, not to mention next year when they have to renew the software, heaven forbid it is on someones route to check.......
Leon January 28, 2014 at 08:26 PM
There is one unaccounted unit in the article. First paragraph states 11 units and second paragraph states 6 on moody, 2 on main, 1 @ city hall, and 1 @ carter st. 6+2+1+1=10. Where is the last one?
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) January 28, 2014 at 08:36 PM
I think the last is in front of the old South middle school. That one will be moved though.
Frosty the Snowman January 28, 2014 at 09:03 PM
Moving parts and solar panels on a barrel, more parts to break and need repair.
Proud Hamster January 28, 2014 at 09:20 PM
Could probably steal them and sell them to another town for at least $1K. In times when crackheads will still manhole covers for a few dollars, that's a great take.
Sheila O'Leary January 29, 2014 at 08:55 AM
I have to agree. I see very little real benefit to these new solar barrels. I might understand it better if the old ones required electricity or something.
Baba Booey January 29, 2014 at 11:38 AM
Total waste. Actually increases "global footprint" from plain vanilla barrels.
andipandi January 29, 2014 at 12:34 PM
For high traffic areas where trashcans fill up more quickly than the city can empty them, these are great. Ever see a regular trash can overflowing? then the trash blows around, animals get in it, etc. A real mess. These hold more and don't need to be emptied as often. How often does the city pick up trash at some parks? weekly? daily? Hamster, I bet they are bolted down!
Larry Fine January 29, 2014 at 12:45 PM
@andipandi..actually Waltham parks are pretty clean minus all the dog crap left on the ground. I see the city emptying barrels at the park I use a few times a week
Elizabeth Lee January 29, 2014 at 01:13 PM
Ha, I can't believe people are complaining about trash barrels. I walk down a significant part of Main St and Moody St every day and I am glad there are now places to put my recyclables. Plus, as was pointed out by someone else, these are enclosed so the wind can't take the trash and blow it all over the street. Nothing is going to "break down" and nobody got laid off because of a handful of trashcans. JEEZ, people.
Tim H January 29, 2014 at 04:31 PM
I like the idea of using these containers. There are a few positive comments above that I agree with. Mainly these are more efficient by compacting the trash (up to 80%), and changing from scheduled trash pickup to on demand with the monitoring system. Waste management shows other towns have saved money with these (http://www.wm.com/enterprise/food-and-retail/Retail-Solutions/compactor-solutions.jsp). I like the idea of saving tax dollars while reducing the trash on our streets.
Frosty the Snowman January 29, 2014 at 04:31 PM
Elizabeth Lee I guarantee one of these barrels will break down. I've seen these overflowing in other cities or mysteriously locked. Sure no one was laid off, but money was wasted on expensive over the top equipment.
Tim H January 29, 2014 at 04:46 PM
@frosty, I suspect the cost of the barrel is nothing compared to the operating cost of picking up th he trash. These are designed to reduce trash pickup by compressing the trash, and reduce unnecessary pickups with the monitoring. I believe I saw previous blogs where Waltham tried simple barrels on Moody st and they didn't work out.
Tim H January 29, 2014 at 09:56 PM
Give the town a chance to try them to see if they're worth it. We won't know until we test them out for a while.
Michael Barnett January 30, 2014 at 07:38 AM
There seems to be a lot of misunderstandings on the "green" feature of these and not taking into account all the other footprints. There have been a number of studies conducted that in the long run they save cities a fair bit of money due to reduced need to empty trash barrels (Philadelphia is now saving around $700,000/year just from that alone). Also remember that trash trucks produce a lot of air pollution as they are very inefficient, etc... The trash is already compacted so it does not need to be compacted at the landfill which also takes energy, etc... The real trick with these is if the new compactors are placed in places where people use them and there have historically been a lot of trash. Seems to be thought out ok.
Dee Keough January 30, 2014 at 01:52 PM
Leary Field would be a great place to put one or two of these! I walk at the track in the spring & summer and there are large white barrels filled with water bottles. I've never seen them emptied. A recycle barrel for all of the plastic would be a great idea. Lexington has one at their track.


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