Weingarten Realty is going “Green” with the Big Belly waste station in Phoenix, AZ. Big Belly was founded in 2003 with the goal of transforming one of the least efficient and resource intense industries on the planet – waste collection. Over the years, Big Belly has evolved to offer a unique solution for waste collection by leveraging renewable solar energy and information technology. C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of megacities working to address climate risks and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, recognized Big Belly as a best practice.
The Big Belly waste receptacle’s body is completely manufactured in the U.S., using recycled metals and plastics. This high tech receptacle does not use electricity, and is fully operated by a solar panel powered system. It can be used in any open sky environment. The internal battery is constantly re-charging and can operate for more than 72 hours before needing to re-charge itself. As waste is deposited, the Big Belly smart technology compacts the waste and is able to hold five times more waste than the typical shopping center receptacle, reducing the need for emptying, and eliminating approximately 1,460 trash bags from entering the waste stream per year.
Big Belly uses cellular technology communication to provide real time reports including alerts and fullness readings. These reports are sent to property management and facility services providers via email. Using the Big Belly interactive website, the user can modify reports or alerts by day, week or immediate notification levels. They can also track emptying schedules which are listed in written and graph forms using green, yellow and then red to indicate fullness and the need for emptying. Operational issues are sent via email “alerts” indicating items such as power outages, open door on the unit, low battery readings, etc. Big Belly’s powerful reporting tools make it possible to track efficiency of a single unit or multiple units within a property or geographical area, as well as realize the highest potential for each unit.
Weingarten’s Laveen Village Marketplace in Phoenix, AZ proved to be the ideal location for the first Big Belly waste station. The outdoor patio at the center provides the open sky environment required for solar operation. Also, the several food tenants generate a greater need for trash removal.
Weingarten Realty looks forward to realizing the benefits of the Big Belly Solar waste station and the possibility of expanding their receptacles to other centers.