Today, we bring you a Big Belly smart/solar trash can.* The one photographed above is located on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in front of the student union. The can on the right, that opens like a mailbox, is the solar operated one. It compacts trash and sends an e-mail alerting the cleaning crew that it needs to be emptied. While the compactors cost about $5,000 per can, they can pay for themselves in labor costs saved by not having to be "checked" by humans.
It is so wonderful that these cans are located on a university campus. Universities are a place to foment ideas. If we are going to transform education and prepare students to generate new ideas and products to enhance our quality of life, we have to surround them with innovation. Gone are the days when we teach for the future. Today’s expectations are that classrooms impact the present. It takes a blend of good teaching, student motivation, state of the art materials, and authentic, real-world projects to grow these great idea like the Big Belly solar trash compactor.
We share this photo today as part of our ABC Wednesday, GO GREEN GREENSBORO series. L is such an important LETTER in the green world. L is for life; living- with minimal environmental impact; lawns- and conserving water; leaves- that Greensboro collects for mulch; and land and landfills. Also, L is for LIGHT to compact trash and make it take up LESS space in the LANDFILLS. Finally, L is for the LEARNING that has to take place to make these innovative devices possible.
*Amanda Lehmert wrote an informative article about them for the News and Record on April 1st 2012 p. A1 & A6. Her informative article about the cans, located at the downtown greenway, sent us out in search of a smart trash can to photograph!