Philly Not The World’s Best Example of Using Big Belly Trash Compactors

The city of Syracuse, N.Y. is contemplating installing some of the “Big Belly” solar-powered trash-compacting cans that went up around Center City Philadelphia a few years ago. The only problem? Philadelphia hasn’t really been a great example of how best to use those devices. The Syracuse Post-Standard reports:

An attentive reader forwarded a 2010 report by Philadelphia Controller Alan Butkovitz that blasts the $4,000 trash cans as wasteful and unkempt and raised questions about the way the city spent $2 million without bids.

The report includes pictures of trash cans with overflowing garbage, clouded solar panel covers, malfunctioning alerts and physical damage. One was hit by a car and has a replacement cost of $3,075, the report said.

Brian Dries, controller spokesman, said the office has not done a follow-up investigation, but he can see some of the trash cans from his office.

“I can tell you that some of these conditions still exist,” he said. “The graffiti, like some of the pictures in the report – you see the trash that’s around them, some of the more disgusting looking things hanging around the Big Bellies – that still exists.”

Sure, that looks bad, but in all honesty: Those piles of trash piling up around trash cans? That’s actually a civic victory! It means Philadelphians now care enough about litter in the community to move trash somewhere near a receptacle!