High-tech trash compactors at two beaches equipped with Wi-Fi

Riverhead Town will be trying out new smart trash compactors meant to reduce trash woes and also offer Wi-Fi and cell phone connection for beachgoers at South Jamesport Beach and Iron Pier Beach.

The solar-powered receptacles will be installed at no cost to the town through a partnership between Bigbelly, a company that manufactures smart waste and recycling bins designed for cities, and Verizon. A cell antenna is attached to each compactor.

Riverhead would be the first town on Long Island to roll out the “tele-belly” receptacles, deputy town attorney Anne Marie Prudenti said.

There is a smart waste Bigbelly receptacle in Downtown Riverhead, but it does not have the Wi-Fi capability, town officials said.

The need for cell service is at the beaches, in part for emergency services, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said of the decision on where to place the “tele-bellies.”

Additionally, the town receives complaints in the summertime about overflowing garbage cans at beaches, but the smart compactors can alert the town’s sanitation department when they’re full, she said.

It’s anticipated that the need for trash pick-up at each location could be reduced by half, Ms. Prudenti said. Additionally, the compactors are closed, which would help keep birds from getting to the trash and spreading it around, Councilman Tim Hubbard said.

Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said she wanted to be sure that any existing trash cans be removed from either beach so that the town gets a sense of how well the Bigbelly compactors work at those locations.

Photo credit: Kelly Zegers

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