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Soldotna to see solar-powered trash compactors

Posted: October 14, 2013 - 12:03am

SOLDOTNA — City of Soldotna employees are going to be receiving texts from trash soon.

To cut the amount of time city employees spend collecting trash from parks and recreation facilities, the city has purchased solar-powered trash bins.

So far one BigBelly Solar trash compactor bin has been set up outside the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

The other nine solar bins, which are also bear proof, will be dispersed throughout the city’s parks next summer.

The trash cans have a solar panel on top of the bin that powers the internal compactor to squish down garbage. The trash cans text city employees when they are full and need to be emptied.

Parks and Recreation Director Andrew Carmichael said the BigBelly Solar bins will free up seasonal employees so they have more time to work on other tasks.

The Soldotna City Council unanimously adopted a resolution at its July 24 meeting to execute a contract for $45,000 with WAXIE Sanitary Supply Corporation to purchase the ten solar-powered trash bins. Carmichael said the 10 bins will give the city an idea of how well they work, and from there the city can consider whether or not to purchase additional bins.

Carmichael contacted officials from the City of Philadelphia to see what effects the garbage cans had on the number of collections it was doing. He said Philadelphia went from collecting trash 17 times per week to three where the bins were placed.

At fishing areas, the trash will still likely have to be emptied daily, Carmichael said.

Carmichael said the cans should especially helpful in parks where kids’ parties are popular. At the end of a summer birthday party, decorations, table cloths and other supplies can entirely fill a trash can.

“At one point this summer, we were (collecting trash) four times in a day,” Carmichael said.

He said the solar cans will prove more helpful in the summer as the parks see more use in those months.

This past July, Soldotna park goers may have noticed new bear-proof trash bins provided through Alaska Waste at Soldotna Creek Park, Centennial Park, Rotary Park, Swiftwater Park and the Soldotna Visitor Center.

Carmichael said the bear-proof trash bins increase park user safety and are working well so far, except for one that “got beat up be a bear.”

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