Lakeland's 'smart' trash cans text when they're full

- The pinnacle of new technology has descended on downtown Lakeland, and it has done so in the form of trash cans. They're called Big Belly Trash Cans.  They're solar powered and they communicate with the city's public works department using regular cell phone service.

"They'll tell us when they're 80-percent full," explained Kevin Cook with the city of Lakeland. "They send a text message saying, 'I'm Big Belly can at the corner of Lemon and Kentucky; come empty me.'"

Lakeland just bought 28 of these trash cans for the downtown area at an upfront cost of $100,000. However, Cook says they will pay for themselves quickly, and in the long run save taxpayers $30,000 per year. The new trash cans hold five times as much trash as the old ones.

"We had to have a garbage truck ride by them early in the morning, empty those cans, and that was once a day, five days a week. Sometimes, we had to come in on weekends as well," Cook said.

The city of Lakeland hopes to replace all their trash cans with the new Big Belly cans in the near future.

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