Solar-powered trash compactors debute on Myrtle Beach's beach

They are about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, and basically, they appear to just sit there.

But these little machines are doing a job for Myrtle Beach as they collect garbage and recycling along the boardwalk.

They are called Big Bellies, and Myrtle Beach is giving the solar-powered trash compactors a try to see if they can withstand the sand and salt air along the boardwalk.

If they do – and if they are well used and prove to be cost effective – it’s possible they could be the permanent trash receptacles.

But so far, usage has been light, said Culture and Leisure Services Supervisor Richard Kirby.

“They don’t look like regular garbage cans, and there are regular garbage cans, so I don’t think people know what they are,” he said. “It’s a very new concept.”

Mayor John Rhodes saw them being used at a golf tournament last year, and met with Waste Management officials who are distributing the machines.

He said he thought the trash containers fit with Myrtle Beach’s efforts to be more environmentally responsible, and if they cut down on the number of times Culture and Leisure Services staff members have to go empty garbage bins, they could save money.

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