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BigBelly full of benefits, Shores merchants say

BigBelly, the distended stomach of trash compactors, is a big hit in La Jolla Shores, where it just passed a yearlong trial run and has been purchased for keeps by the La Jolla Shores Merchants Association.

Arnie Mazza, authorized distributor for BigBelly Solar Trash Compactors in the San Diego area, touted the merits of the new green-technology disposal unit in front of Jeff’s Burgers at 2152 Avenida de la Playa, demonstrating how it worked last week.

“The biggest advantage is we’re going to put 200 gallons of trash in here compared to the (traditional) can over there that’s only going to take 45 gallons,” Mazza said.

The compacting ability of the solar-powered unit saves on money and manpower, he added. “You’re looking at about 80 percent less trash pickups.”

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La Jolla Shores’ BigBelly is pared with a unit collecting recyclable bottles and cans, which, Mazza noted, is a revenue-generator.

“The city of Philadelphia took one of their trash can routes that had 175 trash cans on it, and they put these in and their first-year savings was $563,000.”

Mazza added there is also software available online that tells those servicing the BigBellys when they’re full and pickup is required.

Mary Coakley of the La Jolla Shores Association suggested to the La Jolla Historical Society that historic photos could be put on the outside of BigBellys to localize them and make them more aesthetically pleasing.

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“Maximum function in minimum space, that’s my motto,” she said.

“There’s a lot less litter on the streets,” said Isabelle “Izzy” Tihanyi, president of the La Jolla Merchants Association, about the BigBelly’s impact.

“They’re attractive. I’ve even seen people take photos of it. It’s cool. It’s green. It’s got a recycling unit, which we didn’t have down here before,” she said. “One of these cans replace five trash cans. And you don’t have to worry about the birds and the bugs getting in and them overflowing.”