If you thought the pilot composting program was good idea for Greenpoint then wait until you hear the latest news coming from the Department of Sanitation. The agency has officially upped its own ante by announcing that Greenpoint and Williamsburg streets will be getting nearly 200 new solar powered trash compactor bins in just a few short weeks.

Dubbed Big Belly Solar Compactors, these trash bins will be replacing the traditional green wire cans-a common fixture on nearly every major street corner in the neighborhood. So what makes these new compactors so great? A peek on the manufacturer’s website boasts Big Belly Solar’s trash bins can compact over 150 gallons of garbage compared to only 35 gallons of the standard-issued green trash can.

The company says Big Belly cans are aimed at reducing fossil fuels and are designed to be used without the use of hydraulic fluids. To date, Big Belly Solar Compactor bins have been such a hit they can be found everywhere–including 13 US cities, Scotland, the rest of the UK, and Sweden. Soon enough Greenpoint will be added to that growing list.


Yet despite the solar compactor’s raging success worldwide and domestically, as it is with any new green technology, it doesn’t come cheap. Every Big Belly Solar Compactor installed costs $2,900 dollars.

According to the DSNY, a total of 192 cans will be evenly spread out between Greenpoint and Williamsburg in high traffic areas such as Manhattan Avenue, Bedford Avenue, Grand Street, Broadway, Metropolitan Avenue, and Graham Avenue.  Trash collection will be picked up three days a week, corresponding with regular trash pick days.

While the addition of both the composting bins and Big Belly’s compactors can be considered by some as a boon to the neighborhood, especially given our notorious rep as looking like Pig Pen’s Palace, Community Board 1 doesn’t see it as such a hot idea. In fact not only do they dislike the idea, they’re pissed that the DSNY failed to include the community into the decision to swap in the shiny new trash bins.

In a harshly written letter to DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, CB1 Chairwoman Fuller stated community board members had “extreme outrage at the DSNY’s most recent idiocy…There was no prior discussion or consultation with the Community Board No. 1 on these sidewalk obstructions.”

It should be noted this isn’t the first time Community Board 1 got their feathers ruffled over a DSNY program. They also opposed the composting program citing concerns that the 30 extra trucks needed to haul the organic waste into the Newtown Creek Waste Transfer facility would add to the overburdened truck traffic in the neighborhood.

“It’s two tests going on at the same time,” Fuller told DNAinfo. “One will clutter the sidewalks. One will clutter the streets. We’re just being over-saturated with new things that come into the community. It seems like we’re the dumping ground. We live here. We see things they don’t see. Give us a seat at the table, so we can help them make the pilot program transition easy.”

Whether you like the idea or not these trash compactors are headed our way. Look out for them in the upcoming weeks.  After a one year, the DSNY will decide how well the solar-powered trash cans are working on the regular litter collection route.

So what’s your take Greenpoint? Do you love it or hate the idea?

Join the Conversation


  1. Seems like it’s time for some new faces on CB1. Does Dealice Fuller really prefer the old overflowing metal bins where store owners illegally dump their trash, cardboard, florescent bulbs, etc. to these much nicer looking compactors, or is she just worried that DSNY didn’t come and kiss her ring before taking action?

  2. Oh come on. Clutter the sidewalks? These things will be on the corners. Step around them and consider the fact that you won’t have to search for an empty trash can anymore.

    And honestly anyone who resists a food scrap pick up program is being short sighted. It’s a great thing for the city and everyone who lives here if we send less shit to landfills.

    1. Agreed. I’d rather walk around a new trash can than around the hoard surrounding Five Leaves.

      You know what helps making pilot programs run smoothly? Giving them the “ol’ college try” rather than making up problems before they exist.

  3. Those old school are constantly tipped over, spilling garbage into the street and sidewalk. I think the new ones look great.

  4. I do think these are eyesores. Maybe they could be better designed. I question the long term effectiveness of the solar panels, as well as their durability. Does not compacted garbage result in a heavier load to transport, thus more gasoline? Maybe the transport could be improved upon. Does this not facilitate the production of even more waste? This is skirting the issue of waste rather than dealing with it, unless the compacted trash’s final conclusion is beneficial.

    1. Eyesores? A rat running away with a half-eaten slice of pizza is an eyesore. Food rotting is an eyesore. Trash overflowing a bin is an eyesore. Maybe it will be better to stare at all that while we wait for a better design to arrive.

      I hear what you say about the effectiveness of the solar panels, so I propose that we keep on living in filth until we manage to produce some panels that do the trick better than the existing ones.

      Yes, compacted garbage will result in a heavier load to transport. I propose that we keep on using 4.25 trucks (less call it 4 trucks and a pickup) to do the job. Seeing all that action will keep us entertained while we wait for the new design and solar panels.

      Now, I have to disagree with what you say about the production of waste. Do you know what really facilitates the production of even more waste?: Even more people in the hood, which, BTW, is what we are getting.

      In conclusion, you maybe right. Implementing this program may just be skirting the issue of waste rather than dealing with it, but, to quote the movie “we’re drowning here, and you’re describing the water.”

  5. @ Teo, totally true the garbage we are surrounded by now is peanuts compared to what is on the way via the supersize buildings to be built next to tiny sidewalks, on narrow streets.

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