Solar power trash cans
Solar powered trash cans are now a reality in Santa Cruz....okay, not all the way. They are being tested by the city right now, and they are getting good reviews. But should they get a good review? Let's find out...
These solar power garbage cans resemble giant blue mailboxes minus the legs. They use a 12 volt battery that connects to a solar panel on top of the trash can to power a compactor that allows the garbage can to compress the trash and thus not have to be emptied as often. At first thought, I was thinking..."Wow! Great idea. Way to go!". Then I stumbled across this post from Treehugger.com while researching for this article. This is the same type of solar powered trash compactorThen my mental picture of these solar power trash cans started to sour....a lot. You see, Treehugger.com pointed out in their article that, "Compacted trash is great if you're looking to fit the maximum amount of waste into collection trucks, or landfills. But the flipside of that benefit is that now your landfills get no oxygen, since they're so perfectly compacted. And without oxygen, you don't get decomposition. You get preservation. So landfills end up being giant storage heaps for trash." Great point, and it really should make us think. Is this the kind of trash that we want in our landfills? I would have to say NO. While I think that it is an ingenious idea and it is solar powered, the maker, Seahorse Power Company, should try to find a way to start the composting process without the smell. That way, the compacted trash has more chances of decomposing when it reaches the land fill. It is just a thought, but something has to be done so that we don't make trash harder to break down in landfills.
Our thanks go out to Treehugger.com who realizes that just because something has a solar panel mounted on it, does not necessarily mean that it is good for the environment. Check out the original Treehugger.com article here.