Did you ever think a trash can could send a message to an iPad? I know I didn’t… until I found out about the BigBelly Solar trash and recycling collection system!

These nifty bins use a solar-powered management console and a command center to decrease the frequency of waste pick-up. Each bin compacts its contents until sensors indicate that the container is full. Then a notification is sent to the command center and also to a mobile device such as an iPad, if desired.

street with recycling receptacles outside.

Not only do these bins look super cool and allow students to showcase their artwork or clubs to advertise their events on them, they increase efficiency while decreasing costs. Because the compaction reduces air pockets in the waste, the staff members and waste company will not have to make pick-up trips as often. This would reduce collection costs associated with bag usage and fuel and pick-up costs of the waste company vehicles.

If you still aren’t convinced that Chapman should try these out, then maybe you will after I tell you how sustainable they are! They are a visible and interactive means to encourage recycling on campus because, for example, they can be shown off on a tour. Also, they have a low carbon impact because they are solar powered, the waste company saves fuel when they make less pick-up trips and less plastic is added to the landfill because there are less bags used.

Although they aren’t officially coming to campus yet, we hope to implement them in the very near future. In the meantime, don’t forget about these cool bins and the pizzazz that they will bring to Chapman!


This has been a special blog post by Sustainability Intern Jennifer Feinstein. Jennifer spent the semester working with the Sustainability Manager and conducted a waste audit of Chapman’s Main Campus.