City officials want Winnipeg to experiment with solar-powered trash and recycling compactor bins, in a bid to offset rising costs for emptying sidewalk litter containers.
An administrative report to the Jan. 15 innovation committee meeting recommends placing a pair of solar-powered compacting bins in each of the 15 wards, at a cost of $90,000.
The city now maintains more than 1,500 litter bins on sidewalks, but the report says the containers are difficult and expensive to access and empty.
The administrative report says the city has had difficulty maintaining a satisfactory pickup schedule, with the result that many business groups have complained of overflowing bins and the associated mess on sidewalks.
The report says the solar-powered bins — which self-monitor the trash level and automatically compact contents when necessary — can handle eight times the amount of waste and recyclables compared to the existing bins. They also send an email to public works staff when they need to be emptied.
The report predicts the solar-powered bins can reduce the number of receptacles needed on sidewalks, reduce the number of collections by 80 per cent and collection costs by 75 per cent.
Funding for the program comes from the $1 million council set aside annually for innovative projects — those considered able to either reduce civic costs and/or improve service delivery but are low on department priorities.
The success of the bins will be measured in a followup report expected in the fall of 2019.
— Aldo Santin
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.