San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 12th, 2009
City tests solar-powered compactors downtown


City officials stand near one of three new solar-powered trash compactors installed as a pilot program downtown. Pictured left to right are city council member John Thomaides, Mayor Susan Narvaiz, assistant city manager Collette Jamison, Main Street program director Kelly Franks, City Manager Rick Menchaca, council member Fred Terry and community services assistant director William Ford.


The city of San Marcos has installed three solar-powered trash compactors downtown as a pilot program that may be expanded to the city’s park system.

The “BigBelly” compactors can crush 150 gallons of trash to a fifth of their original volume. The compactors have emptied only once since they were installed eight weeks ago.

“We are striving to beautify the downtown square and make it convenient for customers and visitors to dispose of their trash,” said Kelly Franks, the Main Street program manager.

Franks said they can function for a week on the same amount of energy used to make a pot of coffee and are operational even without direct sunlight.

“Because they hold more, we can cut the frequency of trash collection, and reduce the diesel emissions associated with trash collection,” Franks added. “That means less greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants.”

They are located on North Lyndon B. Johnson Drive near Gil’s Broiler, on LBJ near San Marcos Title Company and at the corner of Hopkins and Guadalupe streets near the Point Studio.

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3 thoughts on “City tests solar-powered compactors downtown

  1. Photo? What photo? Do you see a photo? I don’t see a photo.
    But that’s good, because I would prefer the people mentioned to be at work rather than performing for photo oportunities. Thank you.

  2. What is not explained about these silly trash compactors? They stink. Take a lot of wet, food garbage throw away by downtown pedestrians, add a long period of not emptying them and Texas heat. What do you get. Stink, flies, bugs and more stink. How much are these things going to cost the taxpayers of San Marcos? Before this thing gets out of hand and we shell out a whole lot of money, everyone needs to stop by downtown and look at and smell one of these things. Oh wait! By installing these things, we can all feel better about ourselves for being “green”.

  3. One place I can see them being worthwhile is at Rio Vista Falls. I was there Sunday morning and every single trashcan was filled to overflowing + there was quite a bit of trash strewn about as well. I think they empty them multiple times a day on weekends but it’s apparently not enough. But I have also noticed the stench around the cans downtown. Smells like the Dumpster behind my building.

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