On Apr. 16, NIH unveiled a pilot network of four solar-powered waste stations on the Bethesda campus. The BigBelly solar waste stations will be located in areas generating high volumes of trash: South Dr./Rockville Pike entrance near the Gateway Center, outside of the Bldg. 10 B1 cafeteria, at the Bldg. 31 patio and behind Bldg. 45.
Combining solar-powered remote monitoring and on-site compaction, the BigBelly solar system uses data and increased capacity—5 times the amount of a typical waste container—to reduce the need for collection trips by about 80 percent, conserving fuel, reducing emissions and freeing staff for other tasks.
The waste stations will replace many of the wire mesh containers that often tip over, reducing litter and ensuring a cleaner environment. Since the stations are enclosed, they will also reduce pest issues and related public health concerns. The BigBelly system’s web-based management console gives staff real-time insight and historical reporting into the status of every waste station.
NIH currently collects trash 10 times each week from 47 trash cans around the grounds, but expects to collect BigBelly deposits only twice a week. Future expansion of the solar-compactor network following initial deployment will be evaluated based on the pilot’s success. For more information, contact Don Wilson at the Division of Environmental Protection, (301) 496-7990.