Salem tries solar powered trash cans

Salem tries solar powered trash cans

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by Keely Chalmers, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 23 at 10:07 AM

The city of Salem is going high tech with its trash cans and saving money.

Last year the Salem Parks Department purchased 33 solar powered trash compactors to put in its 12 parks, at a price of about $4000 each.

The city used federal stimulus money to cover the complete cost which, including labor, topped $130,000.

When the can gets full, it automatically compacts the trash inside. As a result, the cans can hold up to five times as much trash as traditional cans.

Parks operation manager Jude Geist said it’s worth the money in savings. This past year alone, crews have made more than 300 fewer trips to empty the cans.

“We’ve saved more than 2000 vehicle miles traveled, which is over 200 gallons of gas,” added Geist.

Many of the cans even have a sensor that alerts the city when they’re full.

“I think it’s a great way to save the environment yeah… I have no problem with it,” said Kristina Mitchell who was visiting Salem from Astoria.

But others think, just like the trash they hold, the cans are a waste.

“At over a $100,000 they could have done something else with the money,” said Salem resident Art Lushenko.

Geist said he, too wasn't sure about the new-age trash cans but is willing to give them a try.

He said before the city uses any of its own money to buy more of the cans, it's going to study the savings first.

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