The Waste Biz: Need A Wi-Fi Hotspot? Find a Trash Can…

bigbelly trash cans in brookline massachusetts

Earlier this year, we took a look at the BigBelly trash can: a “smart” receptacle for public spaces that contains the technology necessary to let waste collectors know when it’s full (rather than dedicating resources to regular checks whether it’s full or not). One detail that got a bit buried: with a bit of tweaking the connectivity that sends that information to the central collection facility can be expanded to create a wi-fi hotspot. So, if your town or campus has these trash cans, you may be able to sit near them and connect to the internet (or save your phone data).

According to CityLab, New York City has been testing out this capability, and likes what they’re seeing. Manhattan deployed over 170 BigBelly receptacles; the Downtown Alliance and Bigbelly tested out the wi-fi capabilities on two of the cans. They were happy with the results: “At 50 to 75 megabits per second, he adds, the bandwidth will be more than enough to run a small business. Being nestled inside the Bigbelly didn’t compromise the quality of the signal: Since Bigbellies are on street level, the signal didn’t receive any interference from towering skyscrapers.” The city also likes the potential for using the wi-fi as another outbound communication channel.

Would you mind sitting near a trash can to check your email? No doubt, nearby businesses will love this: they can take advantage of the capability for doing their own work, or offer “free wi-fi” to customers without directly providing it. Sounds like a “win-win” all around…

via Waste Dive

Also on this week’s waste front:

Myths of Recycling’s Demise: I’ve been watching all the recent discussion of recycling economics very closely – at the very least, it seems something’s going to have to change. We’ve pointed to perspectives from the industry; Mother Jones this week took a very critical look at some of those claims, as well as pointing out several companies doing just fine… with different business models.

Reopened Recycling Facility Increases Output by 60%: And a good sign on the recycling front – PQ Recycling has bought and reopened a Farmingdale, New York facility closed two years ago, and already increased output of plastic flake by 60%.

Photo: Bigbelly trash cans in Brookline, MA Credit: Bigbelly

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