NEW YORK—Look out for high-tech recycling stations on your next walk through Times Square. They are colorful, hard to miss, and are going to save the city time and money, while reducing carbon emissions.
Each set of the new BigBelly stations is solar powered and can compact the contents dropped into it, allowing the stations hold up to five times more content than regular trash bins around the city. Each bin has three options: glass and plastic, paper, and trash.
The bins are equipped with sensors that will remotely notify Times Square Alliance workers when the trash is ready to be picked up.
The pilot program has 30 recycling stations in the Times Square area. More than 500,000 people visit the area every day, generating over 15,000 pounds or 900 bags of garbage every day, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
He said 1,000 stations will be placed around the city by the end of the year.
“It is the largest public space recycling pilot anywhere in the world,” Bloomberg said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “It’s good for taxpayers, and it’s good for the city’s air quality, and it’s good for the people who come here every day, every night.”
The sensors on the cans will save the sanitation department up to 80 percent in fuel costs, Bloomberg said. Less trucks are required to service the new stations as well, which will ease traffic around the city when the full program is rolled out. The 30 recycling stations in the pilot program will replace 53 conventional trash cans in the Times Square area.
The high-tech factor is not the only reason for the change: the recycling stations intend to encourage people to pause and consider where to put their trash.
“What better venue to show the public and everyone around the world what New York City is doing on recycling,” said John J. Doherty, Commissioner of Sanitation. “It’s an education tool that people can see every day.”
Bloomberg announced the administration’s commitment to doubling the city’s recycling rate to 30 percent by 2017 in his State of the City speech in February.