New York magazine named Philly’s BigBelly Solar trashcans a favorite recent urban invention in its current issue on Urban Global Design, in which our smart solar trash cans stand proudly alongside contemporary architecture like a Calatrava bridge in Venice. How do you like that?
The BigBelly Solar trashcans have been standing on Center City street corners since 2009, and Philadelphians have mixed feelings. Some people complain about having to touch the handles, or that they get dirty. And, no, the fancy solar-compactor cans haven’t magically eliminated the litter problem, nor has the habit of dumping household or business trash next to corner trashcans vanished. On the other hand, the city says the BigBelly cans will save taxpayers money and some add curbside recycling capacity. Beyond Center City, neighborhoods from Southwest Center City to Castor Gardens like the BigBelly cans enough to fundraise for them independently.
I overcame my inner microphobe enough to become a big fan of the BigBelly compactors. I think their novelty makes people take notice and consider using a receptacle instead of tossing trash over their shoulder. The best ones by far are the BigBelly cans installed on South Street. They’re dressed up as trash-eating critters thanks to bright vinyl graphics courtesy of the Mural Arts Big Picture program. The inspiration: “litter bugs.” The critter BigBellys were unveiled this spring, but in case you haven’t been on South Street between 2nd and 10th, here are a few of the designs to brighten your Friday.