Just went out for lunch and encountered my first Big Belly solar trash can / compactor with side recycling bin. I vaguely recall the story about unveiling of the first one a few weeks back, but it seemed more like a big gesture than a life-changing addition to the cityscape.
That was before I came upon a random one on another corner. And then another. And the reality sank in: Hey, you know, this could work - maybe Mayor Nutter is really serious about permanently transforming Philly's culture into something sustainable. Maybe we really can be The Greenest City in America!
Then again, as great as the compactor is - allowing the can to receive and retain more trash at a time, thus cutting down on emptying labor costs - it's clear that change isn't going to come overnight. What makes this truly green, in addition to the solar panel that powers the compactor, is the recycling sider which will accompany nearly half of the trash bins. And I was reminded that recycling requires education and consciousness-raising when, as I was admiring this particular one, a woman walked by and threw away a potato-chip bag in it. Sigh.
Big Belly is a big step, but Philly, we've still got a ways to go.