This scenario could be a thing of the past: You are sitting on a bench downtown. You finish the drink in your hand and have a quandary—do you throw the empty bottle in the trash or carry it all the way home to dispose in your recycle bin?
Debate no more; the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) received a $65,000 grant from Alcoa to buy, install and maintain 10 waste-and-recycling stations downtown. Called Big Belly Solar, the solar-powered units accept aluminum, glass, plastic and paper—along with separate bins for trash.
A trash-compacting element reduces the man hours spent to empty the units, and sensors alert crews when the bins are ready to be serviced.
We hardly need to extoll the virtues of recycling, but here’s a fact that might be new: “With recycling, you can put a used aluminum can back on the shelf in 60 days with only five percent of the energy it takes to make a new can,” says Tricia Napor, director of Environmental Programs at the Alcoa Foundation.
Look for the stations, which were installed over the past few weeks, in areas with high-pedestrian traffic, such as the corridors of Smithfield and Wood streets.
Similar solar recycling bins have already been set up at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and Consol Energy Center.