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August 09 Edition Cover

Bottomless garbage bins

31 May 2011

Bottomless garbage bins Image

The City of Melbourne is interested in building a giant network of underground garbage vacuum chutes and thinks that Docklands might be the place to trial the concept.

Councillors voted last month to spend $30,000 on a feasibility study into the concept which successfully operates overseas but has not yet been introduced into Australia.

The vacuum system would replace the need to empty rubbish bins, but the council admits that there would be difficulties disposing of cardboard and glass.

The system is only an alternative collection mechanism.  The rubbish collected still needs to be disposed of.

The council estimates the cost of retrofitting the city with such a system at between $10 million and $51 million.  And this figure does not include the required trenching.

Should a feasibility study prove successful, the council estimates that it could take seven years to install.

The world’s first residential stationary vacuum waste system was introduced into the Swedish district of Ör-Hallonbergen in 1965.

The council spends more than $10 million each year collecting and disposing of the city’s waste.

The stationary vacuum idea is one of 14 planks of an integrated waste policy it is considering.

The City of Melbourne is the second-worst performing municipality in the state when it comes to residential recycling.  With the state average “diversion rate” running at 42 per cent, Melbourne has been achieving only 25 per cent.

And apartment buildings without dedicated recycling chutes have been identified as one of the reasons why the City of Melbourne has a poor recycling record.

With increasing costs of landfill and an associated poor carbon footprint associated with these poor practices, the council is searching for ways to dispose of the city’s waste more efficiently.

The council is considering introducing crates and recycling bins on each floor of high rise buildings.

Other aspects of the new waste policy include:

  • Collecting commercial and industrial organic waste and treating this in mini-biodigesters;
  • An incentive program to encourage residents to recycle;
  • Having a single contractor to collect commercial waste rather than the 40 or so which currently operate in the city; and
  • Investigate participating in an “alternative waste technology facility” located in the western suburbs.
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Comments

  • Guillaume at 3:54pm on 06/06/11

    This is a great forward thinking idea, but why wasn't it thought of before? Won't it mean digging up all the road works that are about to be completed?

    Another great forward thinking idea would be a mono rail for Docklands. It could traverse the harbour and link up all the key places in Docklands.

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