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If you haven’t already noticed the BigBelly Solar compactors, it is time to become familiar with them because they will soon be everywhere on campus.

About 100 of these solar powered compactors and recycling bins are being installed on campus in popular locations such as outside Dietrick Hall and outside the academic buildings across the Drillfield.

More importantly, these compactors and recycling bins will allow students more access to efficient and reliable recycling bins and trash cans that will benefit the environment and the maintenance staff at Virginia Tech.

“What is great about bringing all these units on campus is that it’s going to add a lot of recycling stations on high traffic areas on campus where there wasn’t recycling before,” said Emily Schosid, Virginia Tech's sustainability planner.

“Hopefully by having these stations, it will increase our recycling rate and increase our access to recycling so people are more likely to throw their recyclables in the right bin. It will reduce our carbon emissions and fossil fuels on campus,” Schosid said.

The technology used in the two-part BigBelly Solar compactors is also a key indicator to a more advanced future at Virginia Tech— the solar powered trash compactor. The compactor has a solar panel on top that collects energy. When the bin becomes full, the compactor presses down on the trash to pack it down until it fills up again. This process continues until the compactor is completely full and cannot be packed down anymore.

Additionally, the compactor has a sensor that will tell the facilities when the bin is completely full so they can come around and empty the bins. This way, the bins will only be serviced when they are full so less time, energy and gas is wasted in servicing the bins, which allows greater efficiency and sustainability.

“The trash compactors [will] save a lot of time for our facilities folks and fuel costs because every trip goes to stations that need to be serviced. Now we are able to more efficiently service all the bins,” Schosid said.

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