Smarter Cleanup for a Smart City

Committee: Environment

Cost: $80,000

Location: 9 distinct locations with high foot-traffic

Short Description: A cleaner, more connected Cambridge is here, by way of hands-free, solar-powered BigBelly bins. The new, foot-pedal operated trash and recycling compactors can provide free local WiFi, cut carbon emissions, and conserve City resources.

Long Description: Cambridge utilizes multiple waste diversion techniques to separate trash from recyclables in public places. However, there are “gap” areas in the city that can benefit from increased waste sorting options. Installing the BigBelly Smart Waste & Recycling System will modernize public space waste management and provide the added benefit of free public WiFi in highly trafficked areas.

This proposal aims to add a total of 9 High Capacity (150 gallon), BigBelly solar compactors to certain heavily trafficked city areas. The new BigBelly multi-stream waste compactors are equipped with foot pedals for greater accessibility over the traditional models. The aim is to address specific waste management needs for individual city neighborhoods. Strategic placement of the Smart multi-functional BigBelly compactors will support the City’s goals of reducing solid trash 30% by 2020, and 80% by 2050*, and its Net Zero Climate action plan.

We have identified several city corners with demonstrated need for more efficient trash and recycling options. The locations and proposed receptacle options are:

[4] Wifi equipped hands-free multi-stream compactors ($12,500 each)

  • Harvard Square, Central Square, Kendall Square, and Inman Square are heavily trafficked by public transit riders who will benefit from WiFi options.

[5] Hands-free, multi-stream waste compactors ($6,000 each)

  • 6th St at Cambridge St - There is a demonstrated need for more public waste disposal options in this neighborhood.
  • These outdoor locations are heavily used during daytime hours, with numerous vendors (including food trucks and farmer’s markets) offering to-go options:
    • Grounds of both Cambridge Rindge and Latin School and Cambridge Public Library
    • Overpass near Harvard Yard and Science Center
    • Binney St at 3rd St, near Kendall area office buildings





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