New solar trash bins

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 8:45am
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There are two shiny trash bins in Old Harbor. While they may look conventional, they are anything but. The bins are solar-powered and also double as trash compactors.

Sean McGarry, co-owner of Block Island Recycling Management, purchased the compactors at a cost of about $10,000, in response to the ongoing issue of overflowing public trash bins during the summer months. He said the bins had the blessing of the Block Island Chamber of Commerce, Town Manager Ed Roberge, and Interstate Navigation.

“Block Island Recycling decided to invest in those and we’ll see how they function and see how people feel about them,” said McGarry. They were installed the week before the Holiday Stroll Weekend of Nov. 29 and 30. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.” McGarry said he was waiting for the bags inside the bins to be full so he can see how much they weigh. “I also have the contract to empty the containers, so if I have to empty them less I’m kind of shooting myself in the foot. It’s not always about the bottom line.” McGarry said the compactors come with a software package that connects to his phone so he can monitor the volume of trash that has been collected in the bins.

McGarry said he hopes that more of these solar powered bins will be added to other locations on the island, but these have to be tested thoroughly first.

“We’ll see how they hold up and what the issues are,” McGarry said.