Underground Trashcans Keep Waste & Litter Out Of Sight & Smell

Why throw trash ON the ground when you can throw it IN the ground? That's the idea behind 20 giant underground trash bins put in place by the Chinese city of Taiyuan. Though the concept originated in Europe, Taiyuan city managers see large-capacity underground trash bins as an ideal way to expedite urban waste management.

Home to 4.2 million people (3.2 million in its urban core), the city located in China's northern Shanxi province has struggled to keep up with the tide of trash generated by an upwardly mobile, consumer-goods-loving population.

Sinking trashcans below pavement level offers a number of advantages, one being the actual bins can be much larger and thus hold significantly more trash than standard trashcans. Nobody wants a bin measuring 1.9 meters (6.2 ft) wide, 2.8 meters (9.2 ft) deep and able to hold 1.5 tons of litter cluttering up their streets but... out of sight, out of mind as the old expression goes.

As well as removing a visual eyesore, the big (40-times the size of normal bins) underground bins take longer to fill and therefore, need emptying less often. More trash means more odors but the bins' built-in lids help keep noisome aromas to a minimum. One drawback is that special trucks imported from Europe are required to collect the garbage, though the purchase of such trucks is a one-time investment recouped by operational savings over time.

“The special truck has compressing function,” explains says Hu Zebing, sales manager of Shenzhen Longcheng Environment Protection Company, Ltd. “Its capacity is about 15 times larger than a normal one, so the operating cost is largely reduced.”

Currently 20 of the supersized underground trash bins have been installed in and around Taiyuan and the response from residents has been for the most part positive. “There used to be a heavy smell when I passed by this place before,” states one resident. “Now there's no smell at all and it's much cleaner.” (via ECNS.com)