Decision looms on BigBelly purchase

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

A pilot program putting a BigBelly solar trash compactor in front of the La Jolla post office has been a big success.

But does it justify spending $5,045 to buy one?

That was the question the Streetscape Committee - a joint committee of Promote La Jolla, the community’s former Business Improvement District and La Jolla Town Council - grappled with at its July 26 monthly meeting.

After debating the prospect of buying a BigBelly, the group, due to low attendance at the meeting, postponed a final decision on the proposition. Instead, it decided to e-mail members to see if it can get a decision. Then the group will have to figure out where to get the money if it gets an affirmative vote.

But time is running out, and a decision one way or another must be made soon, committee President Martie Rice noted.

“We have had them on a trial basis,” she said. “The company needs us to decide whether or not they will be purchased. If not, the company plans to remove them.”

The BigBelly Solar Compactor is a patented compacting trash receptacle that is completely self-powered using solar energy. The unit takes up as much space as an ordinary receptacle, but its capacity is five times greater, reducing collection trips and cutting fuel use and greenhouse gas emission.