Midland Goes Green With Solar Compactor - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Midland Goes Green With Solar Compactor

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By Justin Kree
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND-  Midland is going green in a very high-tech way that is also saving tax dollars. Laurie Williams with Midland Parks and Recreation Department explained how the trash compactor works.

"The top is all solar panels so it all works from energy collected on that solar panel. So every time you put something in, it just compacts it down just like a house hold trash compactor. There is no electricity anywhere so you can put them about anywhere," Williams said.

It's a simple idea. Over time, the compactor allows more trash to be thrown away.

"It puts about three times what a normal trash can would do. The capacity is about 150 gallons before it shows us that it's getting close to being full," Williams said.

With 150 gallons of trash, a busy downtown park is a great place to test it out.

"It's great for a place like this where you have events. We do have other trash receptacles but that one will hold a lot more than the other ones do," Williams said.

In a few short months when it's crowded at Centennial Plaza the solar compactor has an innovative way to let the city know when it's full.

"It has indicator lights. It's empty, green. Yellow, it's getting close. Red, come empty me. It also sends a message to computers to our desk. Those messages say someone needs to come by and empty it out at this point," Williams said.

That's right, the compactor has the ability to send a message right to their desk at the Parks and Recreation Department.

The new technology will save the city of Midland money.

"Our maintenance cost for our guys to have to come and empty this out, once every three times instead of once every time it gets filled up," Williams said.

The compactor runs about $3,000 but Williams said the city will definitely be saving more than that in the future. With the compactor being totally reliable on solar power, it can be moved to other events that are going on around town.

"We've given this about two or three years to see how this has been working and it is. So now we are ready to move forward and hopefully purchase more in the future," Williams said.

The city says the compactor is low maintenance and it has never had to be worked on by the company. They are hoping to buy more solar compactors this year.