Richmond, Va.
Monday, Aug. 3, 2015

VCU Increases Efforts to Go Green with Installation of 15 'BigBelly' Solar-Powered Trash Compactors

Friday, Oct. 22, 2010

Virginia Commonwealth University has added 15 new solar-powered trash collectors on the Monroe Park and MCV campuses as part of the university's effort to become a greener place to study and work.

Completely self-powered, the “BigBelly” trash collection system uses solar energy to compact garbage, allowing the bins to hold up to five times more waste than a regular trash bin. VCU officials hope this process will help produce a cleaner environment, reduce labor costs and trash collection trips.

“Since the garbage is compacted, the container doesn’t need to be emptied as often,” said Jacek Gosh, VCU director of sustainability. “This can result in a savings on labor and the use of fossil fuel to drive the vehicles to pick up the garbage.”

BigBelly Locations

MCV Campus:
Sanger Hall (three near the entrances)
McGuire Hall

Monroe Park Campus:
Cabell Library (three near the entrances)
Hibbs Hall (two near the entrances)
Shafer Court Compass
Shafer Court at Franklin St. (two)
Shafer Court Dining Center main entrance (two)
Shafer Street Playhouse

According to BigBelly Solar, which produces the units, the compactors come with various green features to help reduce operational costs by 80 percent. The systems feature a wireless monitoring and management capability called CLEAN or Collection Logistics Efficiency and Notification, which can be accessed through any computer with an Internet connection.

VCU purchased two BigBelly compactors — one for each campus — in the fall of 2008 as part of a pilot program. Cities, park systems, corporations and universities around the country have also begun to use the BigBelly Solar waste collection system.

Additional information about efforts to make VCU a greener university may be found by visiting VCU Goes Green. To learn more about BigBelly Solar trash compactors, visit

BigBelly Solar trash compactors are located across the Monroe Park and MCV campuses, including this one outside of Founders Hall. Photo by Mike Porter, VCU Office of Communications and Public Relations.