Alcoa Foundation is partnering with New York City and the Times Square Alliance to debut BigBelly Solar waste and recycling stations, the largest recycling program in Times Square. BigBelly stations channel solar energy to compact garbage on-site and hold five times the capacity of traditional sidewalk receptacles. Not only will this partnership promote recycling and sanitation in one of the busiest neighborhoods in the world, it will also reduce transportation and labor costs for New York City, as the bins do not need to be emptied as frequently, curbing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent.
A grant of $250,000 from Alcoa Foundation paid for the installment of 30 high-tech BigBelly stations in Times Square for two years. During that time, the bins are expected to capture and recycle 650,000 pounds of aluminum and 2.6 million pounds of other recyclable material. Times Square has between 350,000 to 450,000 visitors pass through on foot every day.
This is the first large-scale, public-private on street recycling program in NYC. Alcoa Foundation hopes that cities around the world copy this initiative, leading to an increased rate of recycled aluminum cans.
On March 15, 2013, Mayor Bloomberg and Klaus Kleinfeld were joined by NYC’s Department of Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins, and BigBelly Solar CEO Jim Norrod to unveil the first of the BigBelly stations during a press conference and ribbon cutting ceremony in Times Square.
“The U.S. lags behind the rest of the world on recycling rates. We believe that once people know that aluminum is infinitely recyclable and that by recycling, they are saving massive amounts of energy and money, they recycle more,” says Paula Davis, President of Alcoa Foundation. “There is no better place to run an awareness campaign than Times Square, the heart of New York City, where millions of people come every year. Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation’s goal is encourage visitors to making recycling second nature.”
This program is part of Alcoa Foundation’s 2012 Clinton Global Initiative commitment to put $2 million towards innovative recycling programs in the U.S. to help reach the aluminum industry’s goal of 75% beverage can recycling rate from our current rate of 53%.