'Where global is local': Philly Streets Department installs 20 no-touch, BigBelly trash cans

BigBelly solar trash cans
Philadelphia Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams posing with BigBelly solar trash cans in Olney. Photo credit Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Twenty BigBelly trashcans have been installed in Olney’s North 5th Street business corridor. And soon, you’ll be seeing them all across the city.

Philadelphia Streets Department Commissioner Carlton Williams says, in addition to them being solar powered, the trash cans have a new foot pedal design to help make them more user-friendly.

“The biggest complaint that we used to get was the nasty, filthy handles that they would have to touch,” he said.

Stephanie Michel, executive director of the North 5th Street Revitalization Project, says people will be more inclined to use them now that they don’t have to actually touch the cans with their hands.

“Because it's so hard to, like, get a napkin, touch the handle, so when they have a foot pedal, I feel like that's more inviting,” Michel explained.

“We will find the trash all around the BigBelly so they would put it on top and they'll put it on the sides. We want items inside the container.”

The BigBellies are able to “send updates on their mechanical condition and capacity to the Department of Streets over Wi-Fi,” as explained on their website. The wastebaskets also have the ability to self-compact material, which allows the cans to hold five times as much trash as a normal wastebasket.

Williams added that clean streets make communities safer.

“It reduces litter on our streets, it makes the community more inviting, and it [gets] rid of the Filthadelphia image.”

The Department of Streets has a partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia, which is why some BigBellies are wrapped in original artwork.

The ones on North 5th are painted with their design and the words, “Where Global is Local.”

Williams says each trash can costs $6,000 and eventually all of the city’s more than 1,500 trash cans will be upgraded as they get additional funding.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio