GW tests solar receptacle

University officials hope a big green box will make campus greener.

On April 8, a 50-inch green solar-powered trash compactor called the BigBelly was installed in the center of Kogan Plaza, said Eric Hougen, project manager in the Office of Business and Operations.

The device is a combination trash collector and compactor designed for locations such as Kogan Plaza, where a large amount of debris is generated, Hougen said. The present trash compactor needs to be replaced because it has been malfunctioning since its arrival on campus.

A company official said more than 300 gallons of garbage can be packed into BigBelly, allowing the unit to go longer before being emptied than conventional trashcans. The device displays a red light and sends out an electronic signal for pickup when it is full. Hougen said the University is only testing the BigBelly and has not yet decided whether to purchase the device, which costs $4,500 and can be paid for in $100 monthly installments.

The company that makes BigBelly, Seahorse Power Company Inc., was founded two years ago in Massachusetts. GW is not the first university to have a BigBelly unit. Babson College, where inventor Jim Poss received his MBA, has purchased more than 50 units. The machine is also being tested in New York City and the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado.

-Larry Adler

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