Six BIDs get solar-powered trash compactors

White Plains Road Business Improvement District executive director Larry Prospect welcomed a BigBelly to the BID on Monday, December 7. Photo by Walter Pofeldt

It’s no belly flop. BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) around the borough now boast BigBelly solar compactors, which harness the power of the sun to compress refuse and require fewer trips by garbage trucks. The nifty trash and recycle bins will help the city decrease its sanitation truck trips and benefit Bronx business corridors.

Better yet, the bins are manufactured by a Bronx-based firm in Hunts Point. DEC Green calls the BigBelly as one of the decade’s 100 most innovative products. The firm is the official New York State BigBelly manufacturer; other firms manufacture the bins in other states. Because they compress refuse, the BigBelly bins hold five times more than standard bins of the same size.

DEC Green president Franklin Cruz worked with the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. to install two pairs of BigBelly bins in the E. 161 Street, Jerome-Gun Hill, Fordham Road, Hub-Third Avenue, Southern Boulevard and White Plains Road BIDs.

“Garbage in a traditional bin takes up so much space,” Cruz said. “A solar compactor makes a lot of sense economically and environmentally. You can monitor by computer exactly the [level of refuse] in each bin.”

Each BID boasts two BigBelly recycle bins and two BigBelly trash bins. The bins, which cost between $10,000 and $15,000 per pair, will be emptied by the city Department of Sanitation. The BigBelly is the world’s first and only solar-powered bins designed to decrease sanitation truck trips, Cruz said. The bins debuted in 2005.

BID executive directors are intrigued.

“We’re excited to have BigBelly bins installed in our BID,” White Plains Road BID executive director Larry Prospect said. “[The bins are] installed on Pelham Parkway South in front of TD Bank and Bank of America.”

Wilma Alonso, executive director of the Fordham Road BID, was thrilled to see bins installed at Webster Avenue and Fordham Road and at Grand Concourse and Fordham Road.

“We’re testing [the bins] by placing them in high traffic areas where there’s always an issue with overflowing trash,” she said.

Alonso added that the BigBelly bins might take some getting used to by BID shoppers.

“Our pedestrians stop and look at the machine and then look for a regular trash bin because they’re not used to them,” Alonso said. “We’re trying to have people in the stores show [shoppers] how [the bins] work. People love to hear the noise when the BigBelly bins compact the trash.”

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at 718 742-3393 or

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