FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ARLINGTON, VT (June 8, 2010) – The state of Vermont has just awarded Mack and its customer, BigBelly® Solar (Needham, Mass.), with the Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence & Pollution Prevention. The award was granted for the development and manufacture of the BigBelly Solar Compactor, a compacting trash receptacle that uses solar power for 100 percent of its energy needs.
Developed by BigBelly Solar, the unit is about the same size as an ordinary trash receptacle, but holds five times more trash because of compaction. The increased capacity results in a chain reaction of savings. Fewer collection trips dramatically reduce fuel use and labor costs. And because garbage trucks are one of the most expensive vehicles to operate, averaging only 2.8 mpg, the fuel savings can result in as much as an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Philadelphia reduces annual operating costs by 70%
Philadelphia, for example, recently replaced 700 wire-basket trash receptacles with 500 solar-powered trash compactors and 210 single-stream recycling units, all from BigBelly Solar. The city now collects only five times per week (rather than 17) at an annual operating cost of approximately $720,000 (formerly $2.3 million), a 70 percent savings. Performing 17 collections each week required 33 workers on three shifts; five collections per week under the new program require only nine workers on a single shift. The other workers have been reassigned to different tasks.
Philadelphia estimates saving nearly $13 million in cumulative collection costs over the next 10 years, net of the equipment cost. Beyond cost-savings, the city has also identified a number of other tangible benefits, including:
• Reduced truck traffic, resulting in less congestion, traffic and road wear
• Reduced litter, which improves the cleanliness and appearance of public spaces
• Pest resistance, due to the compactor’s enclosed design
• Reduced CO2 emissions
• Less household dumping because of the limited size of the compactor opening
• Advertising revenue potential because of the ad space on both the compactors and recycling units.
Mack injection molds the solar bubble (that protects the solar photovoltaic panels) of high-impact, UV-resistant polycarbonate resin on a 1,000-ton press. A highly cosmetic, large part, it must be perfectly clear to expose the solar panel below to the sun. Measuring 27.75” x 20.39” x 4.39”, it must be molded with only one gate to avoid knit lines over the solar bubble. Varying wall thicknesses also pose a challenge, as the gate must be located on the thinner side wall so that it is invisible after assembly.
Mack also fabricates the back panel and door out of metal, procures 130 individual parts for the compactor and 29 for the recycler, and totally assembles both products for direct shipment to BigBelly’s customers with as little as a two-day lead time.
Built to order, the product is highly customizable. Available in three colors, it can be custom painted, silk-screened with logos or other artwork, and vinyl wrapped with custom artwork, stickers and advertising panels. Other add-ons include a cigarette snuff plate, bear-latch or hot weather handles, and two different fronts for the recycling units to accommodate either paper or cans. The newest upgrade is the installation of wireless technology that signals a web-based database that the unit is full, optimizing collection efficiency on a real-time basis.
About the award
Established in 1993, the Vermont Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence and Pollution Prevention honor Vermont individuals, organizations, institutions, public agencies, businesses, and industry for using innovative approaches that reduce or eliminate the generation of pollutants and wastes at the source. To be considered for the award, the nominee must have a clean environmental record. Entries are evaluated by a panel of judges from industry, environmental organizations, academia, and government, all selected by the Agency of Natural Resources. Judges evaluate projects based on benefits to the environment, health and safety benefits, innovative approaches or technologies, level of commitment and leadership, transferability, economic efficiency, and the advancement of educational excellence. To date, more than 100 award-winning efforts have been recognized.
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About MackMedical/Mack Molding
A leading custom plastics molder and contract manufacturer, Mack provides design through FDA-approved manufacturing services to the medical, surgical, orthopedic, diagnostic and drug delivery industries. Mack specializes in plastics design, prototyping, molding, sheet metal fabrication, and medical device manufacturing. Founded in 1920, Mack is a privately owned business that operates 10 facilities throughout the world. Don Kendall is president and CEO.