HYATTSVILLE – These waste receptacles have a large appetite and they may be coming to the streets of Hyattsville in the near future.
The Hyattsville City Council, along with the city’s department of public works, is considering a pilot program with Big Belly, who is “the world’s leader in smart waste and recycling systems.” The city is still in the negotiation and planning stage of the process, but initial maps show approximately 50 trashcans within city limits.
According to an interview with Mandy Lippman, the president of Environmental Cost Efficiencies, distributor of Big Belly, the double compactors cost around $7,000 each, but Rob Kutner, the area vice president for Big Belly, said the company is still working with the city over prices. The bins are placed on a lease-style contract, so the ownership and responsibility of the bins lies with Big Belly and would come at a monthly cost, rather than a one-time purchase.
Lesley Riddle, the director of Hyattsville’s public works, said the city has worked with Big Belly for the past few months to analyze areas where trash is an issue and areas where city trash cans already stand.
“This is a baseline. It doesn’t include all the areas that we know,” she said. “More than likely we need some mitigation.”
Riddle said the partnership with Big Belly grew from a recommendation from the city’s environmental committee to deal with continuing issues of airborne trash and litter throughout the city. Big Belly has waste bins in 1,700 municipalities with more than 35,000 bins in use.
Currently, the city has 62 waste bins and 17 recycle bins in the city. Of those, none are around the West Hyattsville Metro Station and the trash receptacles center around the Prince George’s Plaza and the Art’s District. The baseline plan would replace most, if not all, of the current bins and did not note any further plan for bins in West Hyattsville.
Kutner said the plan is an evolving process, which will take residents’ comments into consideration. The baseline plan, he said, was built off of current standing plans and will continue to grow.
“We’re continuing to get better information and move forward with the best possible system,” Kutner said.
With the current trashcan layout, the city can accommodate approximately 2,765 gallons of trash in bins that open on the top and are susceptible to bad weather. With Big Belly, Kutner said, those factors will change.
Each Big Belly trash bin will be a ‘duo station,’ which is a double compacting unit housing separate trash and recycling bins.
“The Big Belly system will hold up to five times what your conventional system would. Conventional bins on the street now are about 32 to 35 gallons. A full compacted Big Belly will hold as much as 150 gallons on both the waste and recycling side,” Kutner said.
All units have solar panels, smart communications, and are fully enclosed. Kutner said, through data collected from other municipalities, he expects the cost of waste management to decline due to the higher capacity of the Big Belly trashcans.
Councilmember Patrick Paschall said he wants to see the bins places in the three largest sectors of the city: the West Hyattsville Metro, the PG Plaza Metro, and the Arts District. He said, while he assumes the price for the bins is hefty, he thinks it may be worth it.
“This sounds really exciting. I would like to see this happen,” he said. “Of course cost is a concern. For my colleagues, I want us to consider not just the dollars, but as a city we have committed to environmental sustainability. If the cost of this is slightly higher, but result in both a cleaner environment and clearer city, and actually better results for the residents in the areas where these bins are, so that there is less litter and less trash, which results in less crime, then it may be worth the extra dollars.”