The Downtown Alliance Expands Innovative Solar-Powered Trash Collection by Adding Recycling to Successful High-Tech Waste Collection System

The Downtown Alliance Expands Innovative Solar-Powered Trash Collection by Adding Recycling to Successful High-Tech Waste Collection System

Building upon its successful trash and recycling collection program, the Alliance for Downtown New York today announced a major expansion in its use of solar-powered Big Belly recycling units. The purchase of the new units, made possible through a public-private partnership with Vector Media, will increase the number of high-tech recycling bins in Lower Manhattan from 16 to 174. The partnership will also make Vector Media the exclusive media partner for the units’ exteriors.

Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin announced the expansion together with Vector Media’s Vice President, Chad Silver, New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and Big Belly Solar’s Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning and Marketing, Brian Phillips. Additional participants included Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Community Board 1 Chair Catherine McVay-Hughes.

The Big Belly stations will allow for the recycling of paper or plastic and glass at each specified bin. The units are solar powered and are remotely monitored via wireless technology that notifies staff when they are full and require emptying. The bins have allowed for immensely improved and more efficient use of staff and resources; with the use of Big Belly stations, the need to empty full bins has been reduced by nearly 75%.

The Downtown Alliance first launched its Big Belly program as pilot in October 2012, with a total of 5 solar trash compactor units. In early 2013, the program was expanded to include 11 additional compactors and later 16 recycling units. By September the program grew to a total of 158 compactors throughout Lower Manhattan.

Last fiscal year alone, the Big Belly smart system collected a total of more than 367 tons of waste in Lower Manhattan. Since the Alliance began its recycling program, the Big Belly units have collected more than 37 tons of paper and 27 tons of bottle and can recyclables. The Big Belly Solar waste bins, able to hold five to six times more refuse than conventional cans, have proven to be immensely effective. With the use of the bins, downtown has drastically reduced the number of garbage bags collected, freeing more space for residents, workers and visitors along streets and sidewalks.

Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin stated, “This expansion furthers the Downtown Alliance’s commitment to keeping Lower Manhattan clean – and in the most innovative, efficient and effective way possible. I want to thank our partners in this project, Department of Sanitation Commissioner Garcia and Vector Media, who will become the district’s exclusive media partner for our bin exteriors. I’m proud to say that Lower Manhattan, already the largest district in the city utilizing this innovative technology, is continuing to raise the bar on bringing technology in to meet the demands of a strong, bustling urban center.”

Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said, “The Department of Sanitation is pleased to partner with the Downtown Alliance and Vector Media in this exciting expansion of their public space recycling bin program. This expansion is right in step with Sanitation’s goal to increase recycling and sustainability and to provide safer and cleaner streets and sidewalks.  Sanitation knows the importance of public space recycling having already placed 2,912 baskets throughout the City for metal, glass, and plastic or paper.  We are delighted to see that the Downtown Alliance shares our goals for going clean and green and we look forward to continuing to work with them.”

“We are proud to support the Alliance for Downtown New York in their efforts to make the streets of New York cleaner,” said Chad Silver, VP of Vector Media. “As a leading provider of out-of-home media, we are always looking to find new ways to impact residents, workers and tourists on the street level.  Downtown New York is a vibrant neighborhood in which around forty percent of its residents walk to work. We’re delighted to be able to make that journey better on a number of different levels. ”

“We are pleased that the Alliance for Downtown New York is expanding their Big Belly system to include more public space recycling. The Alliance has demonstrated significant operational gains from their earlier installation and they continue to transform their public spaces with clean, safe and sustainable solutions. We are proud of them as a client and plan to partner with them on more smart solutions," said Rick Gaudette, Director, Big Belly Solar.

“What could be better than solar-powered, air-tight recycling bins – they reduce waste, improve efficiency, and even discourage rats. Congratulations to the Downtown Alliance and NYC Department of Sanitation for expanding this key effort. Residents and visitors alike will surely appreciate these new bins,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “The solar-powered recycling bins have been an enormous success in helping us keep our streets clean here in Lower Manhattan. At the same time, this environmentally friendly technology has enabled our community to do its part in helping to clean up the planet and reduce our carbon footprint. I want to commend Jessica Lappin and the Downtown Alliance for expanding this wonderful program.”

“This increase in the number of solar-powered bins will hopefully mean less overflowing trash," said State Senator Daniel Squadron. "Increasing energy efficiency, while cutting down on waste pickup and increasing the city's recycling rate is good news all around. I commend the Downtown Alliance, the Department of Sanitation and their partners for deploying this innovative technology.”

“It’s exciting to see the Downtown Alliance stepping up yet again to help keep our Lower Manhattan community clean and green,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “As many of my Council colleagues and I continue our efforts to create and pass environmentally conscious legislation, it’s also deeply important to have neighborhood partners who are serious about making those improvements happen at the local level. I applaud Jessica Lappin and the Downtown Alliance for their ongoing commitment to a cleaner and more environmentally friendly community."

Community Board 1 Chair Catherine McVay-Hughes praised the Alliance’s innovative efforts, stating, “The Downtown Alliance once again applies the latest technology to address quality of life issues — the recycling expansion of the Big Belly trash compactor program is the latest example. Separation and pickup of valuable recyclables is a win-win for both our downtown community and our planet. Since we also have so many visitors from around the world, Lower Manhattan again can be a positive example by taking the lead on recycling in a practical way.”

New York City Council Sanitation Committee Chair Antonio Reynoso said, “I want to thank the Alliance for Downtown NY for investing in making it so much easier for residents, workers, and visitors to downtown Manhattan to recycle.  As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, I want to see the city’s recycling rate dramatically increased, and to do that we need both public and private investment to move us forward.”

Each of the 158 new bins will be paired with one of the 158 existing solar garbage bins not currently paired with a recycling unit. 174 waste collection bins and 16 recycling bins are currently placed in locations throughout Lower Manhattan: