Council sees the light with solar bins

Council sees the light with solar bins

By David Schout

The City of Melbourne is getting smarter about its so-called “smart bins” and has recently moved a number of the solar-powered units into the sunshine.

A number of the self-compacting bins, which hold around seven times the waste of a normal litter bin, have experienced power failures after their solar batteries failed to charge.

As a result, the compactor and notification technology also failed.

“A selection of solar smart bins have recently been relocated to areas with greater direct sunlight to ensure their batteries stay charged,” a council spokesperson confirmed to CBD News.

Without a notification, the bins remain overflowed unless manually alerted by an officer or passers-by.

When properly charged, the smart bin’s notification system sends an alert either when the bin hits 70 per cent capacity, or when there is a blockage.

“Overflowing solar smart bins are caused by either a blockage in the disposal point (large item placed into the bin) or a fault with the bin,” the spokesperson said. “When there is a smart bin blockage, an alert is sent to our waste contractor, Citywide, who respond immediately to clear the blockage.”

Despite some of the bins suffering a vitamin D deficiency, the introduction of the technology in the city has been a success, with new figures revealing that bin-collecting truck movements have dropped 85 per cent since their introduction.

Public collections have dropped from 93,000 to 14,500 per month across the City of Melbourne, resulting in far fewer trucks entering the CBD.

“The majority of collections take place overnight, resulting in almost all public litter bin waste trucks removed from the central city during the day,” the spokesperson said.

Prior to this, bins in busy CBD locations were being filled as early as 8.30am, and overflowed with rubbish for much of the day, before being collected.

While the new technology has resulted in a significant drop in daytime waste collection, noisy trucks continue to cause issues at night.

In February, CBD News reported that trucks were illegally reversing up Hosier Lane in the early hours of the morning for waste collection.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp flagged this as a serious issue in October.

Within the last 18 months, the council has replaced 772 litter bins in the CBD with 397 solar smart bins following a successful two-year trial from September 2015. 

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