They seem to turn heads wherever they're installed: new solar-powered trash compactors that are meant to save time and energy.

The machines, about the size of a 35-gallon trash can, can smash about 85 gallons worth of garbage — cutting down on the number of trips for trash collection as well as the amount of fuel used and the hours of employee-time spent collecting.

"Other than being sustainable and reducing carbon emissions, what is good about it is it reduces collection expenses to the customer," Ross said.

Such expenses can be reduced about five times, he said, because the compactor can handle five times the trash of comparable containers.

The solar panels, atop the compactors, can store energy in a battery, he said, so the sun need not be shining for them to work. One side handles trash, the other recyclables.

"The first one we typically put out has high visibility and interest generated," Ross said.

Originally posted at Green OC (http://greenoc.freedomblogging.com/).

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