By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Few among the projected crowd of 15,000 hungry carnivores this weekend in Fairpark ready to devour racks of slow-cooked Kansas City-style barbecue ribs will show up for the high-tech recycling.
While not promoted as a highlight of the fourth annual Don’t Be Cruel BBQ Duel on Friday and Saturday, the city will use the tasty event full of ribs and live music as an experiment for a recycling and trash compactor.
Ribs, cold beer and an enjoyable time for a good cause also mean lots of materials thrown away for recycling. The fundraiser for the Link Centre also serves this year as the first major event downtown where a “smart” receptacle will be available for trash and recycling.
This machine located near the playground at Fairpark can hold five times as much recyclables and trash as a regular container. With the left side for recycling and the right for garbage, a sensor detects when each side has reached a certain level and then compacts to make room for more.
“This will be a good test for it,” said Sherrie Cochran, Tupelo’s environmental planner. “We’ll be able to see how much people use it.”
Cochran and others monitoring the machine won’t have to manually check to see how full it gets. A smartphone application indicates capacity levels.
The kiosk typically usually costs $5,400 each but Waste Management, the company contracting garbage services with Tupelo, will provide one of the trash and recycling machines for each year the company partners with the city.
Folks sitting on the other end of Fairpark from the playground not motivated enough to make the trek to try the new device shouldn’t worry. A total of 20 recycling and trash receptacles will be placed throughout the area.