Gayborhood welcomes Big Bellies

Gayborhood welcomes Big Bellies

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Washington Square West, which encompasses the Gayborhood, soon will also house innovative new trash receptacles, which the city pledges will have big environmental and economic benefits.

More than 100 Big Belly solar-powered trashcans will be installed between Chestnut and South and Seventh and Broad streets. The devices are self-compacting and can hold about four times the waste as the current trashcans in the area, and are projected to save the city up to $12 million over the next year.

By the end of July, the city will have installed 500 Big Bellies in the areas between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers and South and Spring Garden streets.

Judy Applebaum, president of the Washington West Civic Association, recently met with Carlton Williams, deputy commissioner of the city’s streets department, to discuss plans for the installation of the new devices, which is expected by July 1.

Applebaum said the Big Bellies will be both plentiful and efficient than the current receptacles.

“The old trashcans, there were just not enough of them in our area, and with their design, there was usually more garbage left on the street than actually got into the cans,” she said.

The Big Bellies can hold up to 200 gallons of trash, as opposed to the current cans, which hold only about 55 gallons and are open at the top, leading to the overflow that Applebaum mentioned.

Applebaum also noted the setup of the new devices may cut down on local residents using them to deposit their personal trash.

“One of the big problems we have now with the other trashcans is that people in the neighborhood put their household garbage into them, but this new design will, I think, prevent that because you’re not going to be able to get these big bags in there. I think that will be a great help in keeping the neighborhood clean.”

The city will also only have to deploy workers to empty the containers five times a week — compared with the 19 times that the current baskets need to be emptied — cutting down on personnel and fuel costs.

Big Bellies also are equipped with an electronic monitoring system that will alert the streets department if a bin is nearing its maximum capacity before it’s scheduled for service.

The city is also installing pedestrian recycling containers alongside 210 of the new receptacle. The entire program will cost the city about $2.2 million, covered entirely by a state grant.

The Washington West area will also benefit this summer from a street-cleaning service contracted by the civic association. The association asked for donations from local residents and pledged to match each dollar brought in, raising enough to pay for the twice-weekly service until September.

Applebaum noted that if the association raises additional money, it will be able to continue the cleaning service in the fall.

“We are hoping to continue to raise more money and to continue doing this. The combination of the new Big Bellies and the street cleaning should make a big difference in keeping the area clean,” Applebaum said.

Jen Colletta can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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