Pedal-Operated BigBelly Trash Cans Are Coming to Philly

And the city says it's responsible for spurring the innovation to our much loved/loathed rubbish receptacles.

Lots of Philadelphians hate, hate, hate the city’s BigBelly trash cans.

Yes, Mayor Michael Nutter says they save taxpayers lots of money. Yes, they alert the city when they’re full. Yes, they’re solar-powered. But … the handles are just so sticky and gross.

Streets Commissioner David Perri said he has heard residents’ complaints and come up with a solution. All of the city’s new BigBelly trash cans, as well as any that are replaced moving forward, will be equipped with foot pedals, he said. 

Photo via the Streets Department

Photo via the Streets Department

“People feel uncomfortable touching the handle, so we met with BigBelly several times and pressed upon them the need to develop a foot pedal to activate the device,” said Perri. “Fortunately, they’ve come up with a prototype and it works really well.”

The model pedal trash can (pictured on the right) is currently installed at Dickinson Street and Point Breeze Avenue in South Philly.

It might be a few years until you see a new-fangled Big Belly in your neighborhood, though. Perri said the trash cans have a 10-year life cycle.

“It’s going to be a while before you see a changeover citywide,” he said.