A new commercial-strength, solar-powered compactor, capable of handling large volumes of cardboard carton waste, is now available for residential use behind the Cranberry Township Municipal Center. The unit, which was purchased with a grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection, will replace two commercial containers which had previously been used for collecting and recycling surplus cardboard boxes.
Although the Township has allowed curbside recycling of cardboard since the start of its Collection Connection program in 2004, the demand for cardboard disposal has kept on growing.
“We get 1,200 pounds a week in the cardboard containers behind the Municipal Center,” according to Cranberry Environmental Programs Coordinator Lorin Meeder. “They fill up instantly. If we empty them out on Friday, they’re full by Sunday – even overflowing at certain times of the year. We didn’t want to keep putting out more containers. What we needed instead was some way to compact them to reduce the volume, reduce the number of trips, reduce the amount of fuel used – to reduce the whole carbon footprint.”
The free, self-service cardboard recycling compactor is available to residents 24/7. Even when the solar collector isn’t getting enough light to charge its batteries, the compactor will still run with help from standard power lines.
There are also rules, which are posted on the front of the unit. “You have to break the boxes down to get them inside the slot,” Meeder said. “We don’t want Styrofoam or packing material. That should go in the garbage. And we don’t want people leaving trash around.”
A surveillance camera will monitor the compactor’s use.