High-tech bins cut waste to size

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Solar power may provide the answer to overflowing rubbish bins at island visitor hotspots.

Auckland Council has installed two high tech ‘Bigbelly’ bins at Little Oneroa, one of the beaches with the worst refuse problems over summer. The solar panels on top power compactors inside which compress the rubbish to greatly increase the bins’ capacity. When the bins are 70 percent fill, sensors signal contractors to come and empty them.

Bigbelly bins can hold up to 600 litres of waste, 10 times more than standard rubbish bins.

Local board deputy chairwoman Cath Handley says they are part of a New Zealand-wide trial.

“The council approach in the past has been to ‘pack in and pack out’ – in other words take your rubbish with you after a picnic at a beach or reserve. But when you get lots of day-trippers and boaties at places like Little Oneroa you can’t rely on everyone doing that.”

Bridget Velvin, the council’s community facilities senior maintenance delivery coordinator on the island, says crowds and full carparks on busy days make it difficult for collection trucks to access bins to empy them. This can result in refuse being blown into the water and rubbish being dumped where it attracts vermin.

Ms Velvin said the bins’ installation was a team effort involving community facilities, parks and waste solutions staff and the local board.

  • Geoff Cumming

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