The city of Roanoke is taking trash to another level.
A number of solar compactor trash cans have been popping up around Roanoke.
The city’s arts council partnered with Roanoke City Solid Waste to add a little pizzazz to the cans, but it's how the inside works that helps make trash collectors' work a little easier.
Roanoke currently has 15 solar-powered trash compactors being used within the city.
“All you gotta do is pull the bin out and empty it,” said Tony Valladarez.
Valladarez works for Roanoke City Solid Waste and said he wants to see more of the compactors in the city.
Compared to normal trashcans, collectors said these new bins are self-sufficient trash eaters.
“This is a lot easier because it's already in the bin,” said Valladarez. “All I gotta do is pull it out and dump it. Before we'd have to remove the ring, pull out the can, and dump it.”
The solar panels on top of each unit charge a battery that powers the compactor and then all you have to do is put the trash inside. Once you close it, it starts compacting.
Solid Waste Manager Skip Decker said the price tag of one compactor is about $4,500. To some this may seem like a hefty price, but Decker thinks it will save the city money in the long run.
The compactors are paid for by federal grant money, according to Decker. He said they will pay for themselves in about three to five years.
They also last fifteen to twenty years and help keep neighborhoods clean.
“It's more aesthetically pleasing to the neighborhoods that they don't see those litter containers,” said Decker.
Most of the cans are able to hold close to 30 percent more garbage than a normal can because of the compactor. City officials said the new cans will help lower the number of trips made by trash collectors as well as help save money.