Southridge Sports and Events Complex has become one of the few places in the Tri-Cities where garbage is compacted by a solar-powered trash can.
The six garbage compactors and recycling bins were donated to the city of Kennewick by Waste Management of Washington. It would have cost the city about $31,500 to buy the six compactors.
In exchange, Waste Management has advertising on the six bins and an outfield banner at one of the baseball fields, said Brandon Lange, sponsorship and sports marketing coordinator for the complex.
Without the trade, the city might have been able to eventually buy one trash compactor, Lange said. But this allowed them to get six at once at no cost.
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The new trash compactors allow the city to be “green” as well as cut down on maintenance, Lange said.
When there is a tournament, it means the maintenance staff can spend more time working on the fields and making the complex look nice instead of emptying overflowing garbage cans, Lange said.
“This just allows us to be a little more efficient,” he said.
The trash is compacted when it gets to a certain level in the bin, he said. And maintenance staff can tell how full the trash compactor is by a color that flashes on the bin.
That can be checked by computer too, he said.
The recycling side of the bins is not compacted, Lange said. Paper and plastic bottles can be recycled.
The bins are spread out on the 52 acres of the complex, Lange said.
At the first tournament where the trash compactors were used, two of the main bins were three-quarters full of plastic bottles to recycle, Lange said.
There still are regular trash cans, especially inside the pavilion, where the solar-paneled compactor wouldn’t work, Lange said.
The new complex has been booked since the first tournament March 17, Lange said. There only have been a couple weekends when a tournament was not held at the complex.
For example, on April 14, the Southridge Sports and Events Center was one of the locations to play host to teams from the National Softball Association. The tournament included 32 out-of-state teams and 80 out-of-town teams.