Big Belly Solar


With nearly 100 BigBelly Solar Compactors on campus, nearly all of the waste and recycling operations conducted by Facilities are through the BigBelly Solar system.

These compacting trash receptacles are self-powered, harnessing the sun’s rays for 100% of their energy needs. The units take up about the same space as traditional trash bins, but have five times the capacity for trash. Collection vehicles are alerted wirelessly when BigBelly receptacles are full. BigBelly trash compactors have reduced on-campus trash collection from 14 times/week to an average of 1.6 times/week. The solar compaction therefore reduces fuel use and associated greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. The University is completing the expansion of this program to provide coverage of nearly 100% of the campus.

The pilot was so successful in reducing labor time and waste, that we installed several stations where there is no solar energy available – in our parking structures. These are hard wired so that the compactors and transmitters still lets us know when trash needs to be collected. We are able to track peak times so that we can collect at the appropriate times.

Also on campus are Cardboard Balers, machines that are used to create “bales” of cardboard that, when fully packed, can weigh-in between 600-800 pounds. These are located at the dining facilities and other key locations where large volumes of cardboard are produced.