PORT TOWNSEND — Trash disposal and recycling has just gone high tech with the installation of solar powered Big Belly units in high pedestrian traffic areas in Port Townsend.
Civil Engineer Laura Parsons with the city of Port Townsend said the new trash compactors, which were installed Friday, will be leased over the next five years at a cost of $18,000 per year. There are 10 sites with two units per site — one recycling and one trash for a total of 20 units.
City Manager David Timmons said the units will reduce or eliminate overflowing trash cans which was a problem that needed a solution.
He said that people were throwing large bags of household garbage in bins and that impacted the amount of times the disposal company had to empty them. Overflowing trash was also a problem for birds and animals and made cleanup difficult and the areas unsightly, he said.
“These are solar powered trash compactors for sidewalk use,” Timmons said.
“They hold about 20 regular cans per unit,” he said. “Smart technology alerts the driver when there needs to be a pick-up and what its current status is. That gives us a lot of great data so we can begin to track high use and high capacity, and then we can begin to look at how we can redistribute them if necessary. They can be relocated if we find other areas have a high volume of use.”
The doors on the units prevent the dumping of an entire bag of garbage and filling the can, not allowing for any more trash and leading to overflowing containers and fugitive trash polluting the streets and shoreline.
Timmons believes the number of trips made by a garbage truck will be reduced which will result in an overall cost savings in garbage removal.
Pubic Works Director Greg Lanning said because these units are being used in the historic district, the Historic Preservation Commission gave a thumbs-up to the design.
“The Historic Preservation Commission received a presentation on the units and the proposed locations and commented, ” Lanning said. “These new trash compactors are intended to reduce overflowing trash and help clean up our downtown area. We believe that the HPC agrees with this overarching goal.”
The units were ordered with a minimal amount of logos and feature only explanatory information.
“If there was a more historic look available, we would have certainly tried for it,” Lanning said.
Uptown units are located at Lawrence and Tyler streets — one in front of Aldrich’s Market and one on the opposite corner, diagonally across the intersection.
In the downtown core are eight locations: Cotton Building, replaces existing recycling container; Haller Fountain replaces an existing recycling container; Monroe and Washington streets replaces an existing trash container; Water and Adams streets, Water and Taylor streets, Water and Tyler streets, Water and Polk streets and Water and Filmore streets replaces existing trash containers.
The old trash bins will continue to be used, re-sited to other places around town.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]