In the company’s infancy, founder Jim Poss pursued new approaches to geothermal power plants and offshore wind energy. Then while observing a trash vehicle in action one day in Boston, Poss remarked upon the inefficiencies of the operation, including idling at the pickup pint, blocking traffic, and smoke billowing out of the exhaust pipe. He believed that there had to be a better approach.
In the course of his research, Poss discovered that garbage trucks consume over 1 billion gallons of diesel each year in the U.S. Averaging only 2.8 mpg, they are among the most expensive vehicles to operate. Drawing upon his experience in electric vehicle engineering and enthusiasm for environmental solutions, Poss formed a new company, BigBelly Solar, which was to develop the world’s first solar-powered compactor. The ability to compact trash or materials for recycling at a four or five-to-one ratio, combined with wireless communication to alert service providers when to schedule the pickup, provides a significant reduction in collection costs.