Waste Automation : Underground vacuum systems, the future of smart waste management?

As scavenging, noise pollution and odour hazards complicate conventional waste management systems in cities across the world, underground high-tech bins offer a smart solution to the problem.

Last June, Evac set up its bespoke underground waste collection network system in Maroochydore City on the Sunshine coast.

The Swedish-based underground waste collection specialist is responsible for installing high tech waste inlets that can suck municipal waste underground from apartments and commercial buildings at a speed of 70 km/h through a subterranean network of pipes thereby eliminating the need for waste collection trucks.

The new system is set to beatify the cityscape as well as contribute to general cleanliness as it will eliminate the need for wheelie bins, considered a nuisance particularly in the summer on account of their tendency to overflow. Envac’s smart waste solution may also help prevent congestion while helping to decrease carbon emissions occasioned by daily waste collection rounds.

Emptying roadside bins via high-powered suction takes mere minutes unlike the hours devoted by waste management fleets, the high-pressure suction system thereby enabling a sustainable as well as time efficient waste collection operation.

In the case of Maroochydore, a Queensland based commercial hub, Envac facilitated the building of an underground pipe network that stretches out for more than 6 km, paid partly by a $21 million fund.

So far, the project is a work in progress, with several bin inlets and collection stations as well as the first parts of the underground piping, intended to process organic, general as well as recyclable waste, having already been finished.

The futuristic waste system functions as follows-waste dropped through individual inlets across city wide collection points falls into a sealed underground compartment. Upon activation of the vacuum pump, this waste is sucked through a pipe network and delivered into compactors contained within the relevant central facility, there awaiting pick-up for recycling.

It will be the first of its kind, automated underground household waste system to be built in Australia.

Should the programme prove successful, other cities may adopt this intelligent waste solution, with plans for the possible extension of the existing pipe network potentially in the cards. Talks with other Australian councils, governments and developers of larger master-planned communities have already been held.

Globally, Envac’s rate of penetration is increasing, with similar projects having been implemented in Seoul, Stockholm, Beijing, London, Hong Kong and Beijing.