Bigbelly was originally a solar powered , rubbish-compacting bin, manufactured by US company Bigbelly Solar for use in public spaces such as parks, beaches, amusement parks, universities, retail properties, grocery industry and food service operators. The company was designed and manufactured in Needham, Massachusetts by Seahorse Power, a company set up in 2003 with the aim of reducing fossil fuel consumption. The first machine was installed in Vail, Colorado in 2004. Seattle, Washington ; Cincinnati, Ohio ; Boston, Massachusetts;Provincetown, Massachusetts ; Quincy, Massachusetts ; Chicago, Illinois ; Dallas, Texas ; Baltimore, Maryland ; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ; Ventura, California ; Oakland, California ; San Diego, California ; NYC, New York ; Aberystwyth ; as well as Amsterdam, the Netherlands ; Aberdeen, Scotland ; London, England ; Lower Mainland, Canada ; Hamburg, Germany ; Münster, Germany ; Uppsala, Sweden [1]; Reykjavík, Iceland ; and Lausanne, Switzerland at the Rolex Learning Center . Sample private sector customers include Microsoft, Google, Permanent Kaiser, ShopRite, Wegmans, CBRE and Costco. Due to the bin’s commercial success, Seahorse Power has changed its name to BigBelly Solar.

Bigbelly is shipping its fifth generation of hardware and has evolved into a full featured cloud based system for managing public waste and recycling, indoors and outdoors, which is controlled by Bigbelly’s CLEAN software. CLEAN is accessible by most web browsers, as well as apps for Android and IOS. With the ability to tie into other systems such as Building Management Systems, POS systems, etc., Bigbelly is at the Forefront IoT applications. Although solar power is still an important feature, the company has been established as a service provider and can provide services for such corporate cafeterias.


The bin has a capacity of 567 liters. Its compaction mechanism exerts 5.3 kN of force, increasing the bin’s effective capacity by five. The compaction mechanism is chain-driven, using no hydraulic fluids. Maintenance consists of lubricating the front door lock annually. The mechanism runs on a 12 volt battery, which is charged by the solar panel. The battery reserve lasts Wireless technology-enabled units report their status in the CLEAN (Collection, Logistics, Efficiency and Notification System). BigBelly Solar also provides a collection of single-stream or single-flow recycled and recyclable materials in public spaces.

Retail Industry Applications

Bigbelly’s customers are driving this recent market entry to high volume waste and recycling that can be found at supermarkets, convenience stores, discount stores, travel stops, etc. The measurable and verifiable results of this project are likely to be used in the field of sanitation. It is common for retailers to experience a five-fold or better increase in productivity and 1000s of waste trash bags for the waste stream for each traditional “trashcan” or bin removed.

Smart City and Smart Building Applications (IoT)

IoT is a suite of technologies and applications, and is ideally suited to “smart” action. The Bigbelly system is part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and it is not allowed to go beyond that. This paper may be used in the past, but it can not be used to improve the value of these products. Reduced truck collections also results in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.


  1. Jump up^ Smart papperskorg till Uppsala. Vattenfall. May 29, 2015.
  • “News: Technology Briefs”. Eureka Magazine . Flight. 28 no. 4. April 2008. p. 8.
  • Solar Compactors Make Mincemeat of Trash , All Things Considered , NPR , July 17, 2007
  • Thinking Outside the Bin , All Things Considered , WasteAdvantage Magazine , March 1, 2011

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