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A group of Guilford realtors is raising funds to add a Big Belly solar trash can/compactor. like this one in Madison, to the Guilford Green. Photo by Jesse Williams/The Courier

A group of Guilford realtors is raising funds to add a Big Belly solar trash can/compactor. like this one in Madison, to the Guilford Green. (Photo by Jesse Williams/The Courier | Buy This Photo)

Half Way to a Trash Solution in Guilford

Published Sep. 10, 2019

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After the town took over collection of its own garbage from a contractor this summer, both town officials and local residents are looking for ways to avoid the unsightliness, insects, and other issues that accompany the disposal of trash.

After receiving calls about overflowing or bad-smelling bins “almost every week,” Parks & Recreation Director Rick Maynard moved some town garbage bins from the sidewalks in front of businesses across the street to the edge of the green. Maynard said he has seen positive results from this change.

Some residents are hoping to see even bigger changes, however, and have taken the initiative to raise money for a specialty solar-powered trash compactor that would reduce or resolve any issues with overflowing garbage cans on the green.

Kathleen Moniello said she started noticing overflowing bins last summer when walking her dog up Whitfield Street along the green.

“The first couple of times I thought, ‘Oh, this is not pleasant,’” said Moniello. “The more I saw it, the more it bugged me.”

Moniello said she did some research and discovered a company called Big Belly, which makes the solar-powered compactor. Madison has recently deployed several Big Belly receptacles along Boston Post Road in the central business didstrict.

As a real estate agent, Moniello said she often brings out-of-town folks in to see Guilford, and always appreciates all the little things that make the town what it is.

“We’re lucky to live in Guilford and have such a beautiful community and beautiful center of town,” she said. “You don’t want anything to detract from it.”

This past July, Moniello reached out to four other local real estate agents: Karen Stephens of Page Taft Christie’s, Sharon Craig of William Raveis, Kathy Mitchell of William Pitt Sotheby’s, and Rob Curry of H. Pearce, to pitch the idea of fundraising a trial Big Belly bin. Together they have been speaking to local merchants and raising awareness of the trash issue around the green.

The unit Moniello and the other real estate agents are hoping to buy has several advanced features, including the ability to send messages to a cell phone when it is full or close to full, and claims to have five times the capacity of a standard garbage bin with its solar-powered compactor.

Both the Board of Selectmen and the Green Committee approved the idea earlier this summer. Since then, Moniello said they have raised about half of the $6,000 cost of the unit, mostly by simply visiting the merchants around the green, who for the most part have shared her desire to help with garbage maintenance.

“It was definitely a source of frustration,” Moniello said

Maynard was among a couple Guilford town officials who spoke to their Madison counterparts who are currently using the Big Belly bins. He said the Madison folks spoke very positively about the bins, and told him that the Big Belly units had saved them some amount of labor and other costs.

Though Maynard was not sure how much the town had paid for its current 35 gallon receptacles, the manufacturer listed similar sizes and designs online for between $750 and $1,400.

Maynard said saw several other benefits to the Big Belly bins. Because garbage is fed into a slot instead of through a larger hole in the top of the bin, unscrupulous people would not be able to bring large quantities of their own garbage to dump into town bins—something the town has dealt with in the past, Maynard said. He also said he could imagine using Big Belly bins near the beach, where trash pickup is sometimes more of a challenge.

For her part, Moniello said she hopes a trial bin will help the town and see the value in keeping its streets and green free from unsightly garbage and possibly look toward purchasing more of the units.

“It’s just something I felt strongly about as a resident,” Moniello said.

Maynard said he was “very thankful” for Moniello’s fundraising effort, and was glad to see residents taking initiative on local issues such as this. He said the town would have to wait and see how the trial bin did.

Anyone interested in the Big Belly fundraiser can email guilfordbigbellyfund@gmail.com.

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