Friday, April 5, 2013
Little Elm’s new solar-powered recycle bins send a text when full
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LITTLE ELM Solar-powered recycling bins that can text? Yes, they’re a real thing – and they’re coming to Little Elm.
The town of Little Elm is expanding its green initiatives after reaching an interlocal agreement with the North Texas Council of Governments to install five solar-powered, smart recycling compactors at area parks.
“It fits our ideology,” said Kevin Mattingly, Public Works director. “We’re big on recycling [and] we’re big on being green, and I think it fits both things.”
As part of the Solar Recycling Containers Parks Project, the town staff applied for a $20,320 grant from North Texas COG last summer, which was approved earlier this year. The town initially planned to purchase four containers, but Mattingly said the compactor prices had gone down, allowing staff to work on purchasing a fifth container.
Joining area communities in installing smart compactors, the town will place the bins at Little Elm Park, Cottonwood Park and possibly in the future Beard Park. The containers should be operational by May.
“The containers will accept recyclables, compact the contents and send us a text message when they require emptying,” Mattingly said in a release. “And, they’ll be powered by sunlight, requiring no electrical connection. It’s one way the town can do its part for recycling, energy conservation and keeping Little Elm clean.”
The recycling compactors will accept plastic drink containers, aluminum cans, paper and cardboard; however, it does not accept glass. The recyclables are compacted into a 50-pound bundle and when full, the container sends a text to town staff signaling for them to pick it up.
Mattingly said the compactors serve multiple purposes such as promoting recycling out in venues like the parks, cutting down on the amount of trash and preventing wasted trips for staff back and forth from the parks.
“It cuts down on other natural resources from wasted trips,” Mattingly said. “It fits the Texas theme – being conservative [and being] good stewards of our natural resources.”
The only cost to the town is shipping the containers to Little Elm and providing the concrete base the containers will sit on, which is estimated to be $2,800. The town has been a proponent of being green through programs such as the Coca-Cola Reimagine Recycling initiative and the medicine drop-off box to name a few.
“Recycling is the right thing for the residents, for the environment [and] for the natural resources that we have,” Mattingly said.
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