FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ARLINGTON, Vt. (March 24, 2010) – Mack Molding Co. (Arlington, Vt.) and customer, BigBelly Solar (Needham, Mass.), have been named joint winners of one of the Global Plastics Environmental Conference (GPEC) 2010 Environmental Stewardship Awards, which challenge companies to raise the bar in the areas of sustainability and recycling. Sponsored by the Plastics Environmental Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), the awards recognize corporations and other institutions that have demonstrated environmental leadership and excellence through significant achievements in a variety of categories.
For “Enabling Technologies in Processes and Procedures,” BigBelly Solar and Mack took the prize with the BigBelly Solar Compactor, a patented compacting trash receptacle for large scale, low cost municipal waste collection programs that are now being conducted in 45 states and 20 countries.
About the product
Instead of requiring a grid connection, BigBelly gets 100 percent of its energy from the sun and uses less than five watt hours per day. The solar photovoltaic panel turns daylight into electricity, which is stored in a small battery inside the unit, allowing the machine to run at night and during prolonged periods of inclement weather.
Similar in size to an ordinary trash receptacle, its capacity is five times greater (160 gallons) because of compaction. Increased capacity reduces collection trips and can cut fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent. BigBelly can displace four out of five trash pick-ups, dramatically reducing transportation and labor costs.
When the unit is ready for collection, a wireless monitoring system uses text message technology to signal a web-based database that the unit is full. This allows managers to optimize collection efficiency on a real-time basis.
Optional recycling units can be attached to the compactors to separate trash from recycling. Both units have the same overall design and appearance, but the recycling units are non-compacting with 50-gallon inner bins.
Mack injection molds the solar bubble 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″, the part must be molded with one gate to avoid knit lines over the solar bubble. Wall thicknesses vary, with the side walls thinner than the main wall. And the gate must be located on the thinner side wall, which is less desirable from a processing perspective, so that it is invisible after assembly.
Mack fabricates the back panel and door out of metal, procures over 150 unique parts, and totally assembles both the compactor and recycler for direct shipment to BigBelly Solar’s customers. Built to order, the product is highly customizable and can include custom paint; silk-screened logos or artwork; vinyl wraps with custom artwork, stickers, and advertising panels; cigarette snuff plate; bear latch and hot weather handles; two different fronts (paper or can) for the recycling units; and wireless technology.
To be considered for the GPEC 2010 Environmental Stewardship Awards, entries had to:
- Involve plastics
- Contribute to environmental improvement
- Be commercially adopted or accepted in 2009
- Promote leadership in environmental areas
- Make a verifiable environmental contribution
- Facilitate innovation, standards and/or regulations
- Demonstrate leadership in technology, marketing, legislation, education, and/or community
- Demonstrate creativity and originality
- Have significant impact, showing value for its intended purpose.
Mack Molding and BigBelly Solar were honored at a ceremony on March 9 at The Florida Hotel & Conference Center, Orlando, Fla., during the Global Plastics Environmental Conference.>
About Mack Molding
Mack Molding is a leading custom plastics molder and contract manufacturer specializing 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.
For more news and information about the applications and services of Mack Molding Co., go to www.mack.com.