Feb 25, 2017

Suck it up – Qld council’s new approach to waste management

Suck it up – Qld council’s new approach to waste management Envac Korea senior manager Daniel Park and chief executive officer Stephen Bahng inspect the pipes at Maroochydore.

Rubbish will be sucked away via vacuum pipes in a $21 million automated waste collection system to be installed on the Sunshine Coast.

The first shipment of pipes has arrived for the project, which will see the 53-hectare Maroochydore City Centre become the first area in Australia to employ the technology.

Project teams from Sunshine Coast Council and SunCentral Maroochydore joined representatives from system designer and manufacturer Envac, who flew from South Korea, to inspect the materials this week.

“This is an exciting point of the project, as we get ready to install the first pipes in a few months,” Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said.

“I’m very proud our Sunshine Coast is leading the charge in Australia with this innovative waste collection solution and I’m sure other cities and major urban projects will soon be following in our footsteps.

“The rubbish revolution means that city workers and residents will never have to walk past rows of wheelie bins or be woken early by noisy garbage trucks in the Maroochydore City Centre.

Mayor Mark Jamieson.

“Common aspects of waste collection such as odours and vermin will be avoided, and the costs of daily street cleaning will be reduced.

“New urban developments in Stockholm, Seoul, Barcelona, London, Singapore and Beijing have all utilised the Swedish-designed Envac waste collection system – but no Australian city has done so – until now.”

Rather than using wheelie bins, waste will be transported from commercial buildings and apartments at up to 70kmh through a 6.5km system of underground vacuum pipes located beneath Australia’s newest city centre.

SunCentral Maroochydore chief executive officer John Knaggs said public areas would be serviced with their own waste inlets, enabling the new city streets to be effectively serviced by the new technology and avoiding overflowing bins.

“Envac’s technology can be installed because we are building on an undeveloped, greenfield site within an existing urban area – and that has many other benefits,” Mr Knaggs said.

“For instance, we are also building a high-speed fibre optic network into the city’s very foundations, which will enable us to provide ‘smart’ signage, free Wi-Fi hotspots, real-time transport information, movement sensors and smart lighting.”

How it works: There will be separate waste inlets for organic, recyclable and general waste installed in buildings and public spaces throughout the new Maroochydore Central Business District.
Waste dropped into each inlet will be stored in a sealed compartment below ground, or in building basements.
A vacuum pump is then activated and the waste is transported to a waste collection facility via an underground pipe network.
The vacuum system will consecutively collect each type of waste according to the system’s scheduled operation.