DETROIT, united States | DTE Energy —
DTE Energy will install smart, solar-powered trash compactor and recycling units in its downtown Detroit neighborhood to help make the city cleaner and greener.

The Bigbelly units, the first solar-generated compactors in the city of Detroit, are expected to arrive this summer.

DTE will install seven of the units which collect and compact trash on site and also gather aluminum and plastic containers for recycling. The pilot program supports the company’s Energize Detroit neighborhood revitalization initiative while helping to protect the environment. Waste Management of Michigan Inc. will install and maintain the units for DTE Energy.

The compactors eliminate trash overflow which helps beautify the neighborhood and keeps pests away. The solar panel on the unit extracts energy from the sun to continuously charge the battery powering the system. When the unit needs to be emptied the smart system sends a signal via its CLEAN management software to Waste Management of Michigan. The system dramatically reduces trash collections and vehicle carbon emissions.

“At DTE, we continuously explore environmentally sound ideas to help sustain our neighborhoods,” said David Meador, vice chairman and chief administrative officer for DTE Energy.

“We believe the Bigbelly project will be good for our customers, our employees and the Detroit neighborhood where we are based and the larger Detroit community we serve,” he said. “We hope other companies will consider these cost-effective units to achieve critical mass toward creating a cleaner, greener community.”

DTE Energy will set up the units at the Third Street bus stop area across from the MGM Grand Detroit, the Navitas House office building at Bagley Avenue and Third Street and in the company’s food truck area near its entrance. The company also will install four units inside its headquarters complex. These systems will use electricity as the backup to solar energy.

Meador said DTE Energy and Waste Management of Michigan will evaluate the efficiencies of the pilot program and may consider future expansion of it.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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