Smart bin

Completion of the BigBelly Solar Compactor Bin Trials

29 August 2017

The ACT Government is interested in new and innovative ways to enhance the services it provides to improve the city of Canberra and its surrounds. A collaboration between ACT NOWaste, City Presentation and the Suburban Land Agency recently completed a trial of three BigBelly Solar Compacting bins.

The bins offer an innovative approach to waste management, with the potential to increase waste collection efficiency, provide real time data on bin usage, and reduce overflow issues and littering. The bins are solar powered to drive a self-compacting unit, increasing effective capacity. The solar panel also provides power for a message to be sent to waste collectors when the bins are close to full.

Two bins were placed in medium to low use areas, in Campbell and Molonglo. In these areas the trials successfully increased efficiency, requiring collections only every two to five weeks instead of two to three times a week.

The third bin was placed in a high use area at the Kingston Foreshore. Here the benefits of the BigBelly Solar Compactor bins were overshadowed by the intensive workout the bin received. The bin's handle became stuck on occasion requiring a callout by a specialised service technician. In addition notifications from the bin interrupted a more efficient, regularly scheduled collection service.

The trial was successful in identifying advantages of sensor technology. At the completion of the trial, the ACT Government can draw some interesting conclusions. In situations of low to medium use there is potential for energy savings from efficient organised waste collection. In areas of high use a traditional bin system provides a better whole of life cost.

These results support the ACT Government's commitment to improve Canberra's liveability and create a clean environment and a carbon-neutral waste sector.

More information on the smart bins trial or the ACT Waste Feasibility Study is available by emailing

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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.