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New Orleans May Get 242 Solar Trash Cans

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The upcoming Super Bowl will be hosted by the city of New Orleans on February 3, 2013. Before the big event, the city hopes to have at least 150 solar-powered trash compactors installed. This number could be expanded to 242, but the bids and contracts haven’t been finalized yet. The new trash compactors would be installed in the French Quarter, where tourists typically gather in very large numbers and generate much trash.

NewOrleansCBDfromUptownBig.jpgThe solar-powered trash compactors hold more than the current public trash containers and also have containers for recycling. Because they have a large capacity, the number of truck collections could be reduced about four times, which is better for local traffic. Garbage trucks tend to move very slowly in addition to blocking roadways during collection times. Fewer garbage truck trips also means some fuel savings and reduced exhaust emissions.

The solar receptacles are supposed to be water- and rat-proof; so they should be more sanitary and produce less odor. They also have smart sensors to indicate to authorities when they are full. Because of the potential for flooding, the city is requiring bidders to submit plans with solar trash compactors that can resist storm winds and up to two feet of standing water.

The city of Cleveland has been testing the same kind of technology. Each Big Belly solar compactor costs $5,000, with another $2,000 required for the recycling components. The solar panels on each compactor are intended to last at least twenty years. If New Orleans can use the surge in revenues from the Super Bowl to pay for their new trash compactors, that might be something of a fiscal coup.

A huge number of tourists is expected leading up to the game and for the event itself. An estimated $434.9 million will be generated for city’s economy. Over 5,000 media representatives are also expected to be in attendance.

Slightly over 6,000 full and part-time jobs are anticipated to be created by all the economic activity.

Image Credit: Infrogmation, Wiki Commons

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