DETROIT – They say charity starts at home, and in this case recycling does, too.

DTE Energy’s downtown neighborhood is even cleaner and greener, thanks to the installation of the city of Detroit’s first smart, solar-powered trash compactor and recycling units.

DTE on Friday installed seven Bigbelly units, which collect and compact trash on site and also gather aluminum and plastic containers for recycling.

The pilot program supports the company’s Energize Detroit neighborhood revitalization initiative while helping to protect the environment. Waste Management of Michigan Inc. installed the units and will maintain them for DTE Energy.

The compactors eliminate trash overflow which helps beautify the neighborhood and keeps pests away.

The solar panel on the unit extracts energy from the sun to continuously charge the battery powering the system. When the unit needs to be emptied the smart system sends a signal to Waste Management of Michigan. The system dramatically reduces trash collections and vehicle carbon emissions.

“DTE is always exploring environmentally sound projects that are good for our employees, customers and the communities where they live and work,” said Anthony Tomczak, executive director of Corporate Services for DTE Energy.

“The solar compactors will not only help to keep our community clean, but will do so using a renewable form of energy,” Tomczak said. “I hope that other businesses consider this technology so that we can achieve the critical mass needed to make a difference in Detroit and surrounding communities.”

DTE Energy set up the units at the Third Street bus stop area across from the MGM Grand Detroit, its Navitas House office building at Bagley Avenue and Third Street and in the company’s food truck area near its headquarters building entrance. The company also installed four units inside its headquarters complex.

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