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Bigbelly wants to be more than a smart trash company

February 3, 2015

Bigbelly wants to be more than a smart trash company

Heather Clancy
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 1:00am

Solar-powered trash compactors made by Bigbelly are a familiar sight on the streets of big cities including Amsterdam, Boston, Chicago, Dublin, Hamburg, New York and Stockholm.

Indeed, the company said it ended 2014 with more than 1,500 customers on its account list — in 47 countries. That’s roughly 30,000 bins worldwide.

If you’ve never seen a Bigbelly “can,” the sleek design is pretty distinctive, with the usual signage encouraging people to place trash or recyclables inside instead of dropping them on the ground. The solar panels are embedded in the top, gathering energy even when there’s no direct sunlight. Here’s the clincher: Each unit has a capacity of up to 150 gallons. That's over four times the capacity of a traditional 35-gallon trash can. Built-in sensors detect when a container has reached capacity.

The 12-year-old company’s original sales pitch centered on helping municipalities, business districts, and university administrations reduce the number of trash pickups required on routes. That’s one reason that Waste Management jumped on board as a key distribution partner.

Looking ahead, however, Bigbelly’s aspirations rise far above smarter waste management. It is endowing its trash systems with additional sensors and wireless communications technologies that enable it to collect and communicate a variety of useful data points both about the system itself, as well as the surrounding environment, said BigBelly CEO Jack Kutner.

Read more at GreenBiz.

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