I lived at 3rd and South for a while both before and after these were deployed. The old cans were emptied once or twice a day by sanitation workers. Very often, those sanitation workers would also pick up trash off the street around the cans. When the Big Belly's were installed, they started coming around every other day or so instead. No one touches these things. People simply throw their trash at them and walk away. I once saw a Big Belly covered by a pile of trash near 5th and South.
I got really good at opening them with the heal of my shoe, or using a napkin. Very often, though, they were either jammed shut or stuffed full.
The city probably could have just stopped collecting trash altogether to achieve the same result and save even more money.