American in Spain

Underground Dumpsters

March 8, 2007

This is an idea that I've seen implemented in Spain and no where else. You dig a dumpster-sized hole, put a hinged lid on it, and then put a mailbox-like interface to it on top. The shiny cylinder on top is about the size of one kitchen trash bag. Like a mailbox, when you open it, the cylinder rotates to close off the hole below. You place your bag inside the cylinder, close it, and it plummets into the dark depths below. It's easier and cleaner than most dumpsters, and it doesn't take away any sidewalk space. You can walk right over them.

Obviously, you need regular dumpsters too, for those items that won't fit in that little cylinder, but the stinky kitchen stuff should always go into the underground dumpster. Although I've never actually seen it, the mechanism for opening them must be automatically handled by the truck, like it is for other dumpsters.

I took some pictures of the one right outside my building. It malfunctioned and was left open, which is somewhat dangerous. But it did let me illustrate how they work.


Compare the footprint and aesthetics to its green neighbor.


Don't let your kids run around when they get stuck open like this.