Saturday, August 29, 2015

How Germany keeps its cities clean during festivals

A Facebook post from my Uncle Erik in Denmark today shared this photo of the new solar-operated public trash compacting stations he saw this week, while he was visiting the capital city of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, Kiel. 
Photo: Erik Rønholt

What Erik found so impressive is that the not only do the solar panels signal when to compact the contents of the station, can hold five times more items by volume, reducing collection requirements by up to 80 percent. An electric eye inside detects the level of trash (or recyclables) and triggers compactions as needed.  This eye also notifies the collection agency when the box is at capacity and needs to be serviced.  Pretty high tech.

What is so cool that I learned today was that the technology of these BigBelly solar-powered compactors actually comes from Massachusetts!  Also, we have several of these units in Newport these days, thanks in part to funds raised during a student's Senior Project! 

Very cool.

But Kiel has a major waterfront, and these boxes don't help on the water (yet).  So there is a very involved program to handle waste and separate it for recycling, which I don't believe takes place in Newport, or in any USA port.  Sanitize specialists, most commendably, work around the clock to catch trash -- and separate it -- before it can become an environmental problem.  In particular at sea, they are always a welcome sight, since yachts can really generate a lot of trash, and where, with limited on board space, there can be considerable temptation to let trash "disappear" overboard.

Here are a photo from Kiel's magazine the Fördeflüsterer, features an employee holding one of the trash retrieval baskets with that welcoming signal, which other vessels gratefully flag down in order to take advantage of their trash removal service. A corner of the sorting station appears on the right.

1 comment:

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