Streetlights of the Future to be Powered by Trash

trash streetlight

It's an idea that just seems to make a certain amount of sense: cities need streetlights, and cities need places for people to throw away their trash. Streetlights, which must stay on all night (unless they're these nifty sensor controlled ones), are a pretty sizable energy drain. But what would happen if all those people could toss their garbage into bins attached to a new kind of streetlight that could use it as fuel? And that's what we have here today. Introducing: the trash-powered street lamp.

streetlight trash powered image

Images via Yanko Design

The basic idea is intriguing, to say the least. According to Yanko Design,

This lamppost composts trash and uses the methane byproduct as a fuel to power the lamps. The compost can then be retrieved to re-green our cities . . . it's not clear how much trash is needed to keep such a system going.
Now, only food waste can be deposited in the bins, so that would limit the usefulness of the trash collection--but it's hard to argue with a three-in-one (creates energy, contains trash, makes compost) benefit.

This schematic, by designer Haneum Lee, has more details:


I know some people get irked when I post design concepts, but ideas like these are in many cases the seeds of innovation--even if this is infeasible now, how is it anything but a good thing that people are thinking creatively to tackle energy and waste issues? Plus, this is exactly what I was hoping trash cans would look like in the future.


I, for one am glad designers are out there tackling issues like this, instead of doodling futuristic cars and weapons and such. And though it'd certainly be difficult to keep up--that's a lot of composting, and a lot of maintenance on those compost-powered lights--there's no reason we shouldn't be thinking of solutions like this.


More on Green Streetlight Designs
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