The Sorry State of Philadelphia’s Big Belly Trash Cans

A sampling of the condition of some Center City Big Belly trash cans. | Photos by Tom Beck.

Philadelphia has a love-hate relationship with its Big Belly trashcans, those solar-powered trash compactors with handles so foul, most of us open them with our elbows — or not at all.

On the one hand, they’re clearly superior to the old wire mesh models, which overflowed faster than the Streets Department emptied them. The city says the Big Belly cans save them about $1 million a year in...

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