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Automated Vacuum Collection

Photo From Waterfront Toronto

Photo From Waterfront Toronto

The Automated Vacuum Collection or (AVAC) is a pneumatic garbage collections system that transports waste through underground tunnels by a vacuum to a central processing facility where it is compacted, and trucked away. There are a few of these systems in the world right now most of them are in Scandinavia and Asia. There are only two such systems in North America are in Roosevelt Island and of course the magic kingdom of Disney World. You can’t have garbage trucks, or any visible garbage in a magic kingdom now can you?

The Stockholm Bins
The Stockholm Bins

The system works similar to a packet switched network, transporting one type of waste at a time. The systems usually use a set of pipes or bins for the different types of waste that the system will transport. In parts of Stockholm (they sure have a lot of cool underground things) Envac installed a number of pipes which protrude from the ground in groups of three. The pipes are colour coded, blue for mixed wast, green for organics, and grey for newspapers. The computer controlled evacuation takes about 30 seconds, the waste is sucked out through the pipe network at a speed of approximately 70 km/h. Last year Hammarby Sjostad, a new waterfront community in Stockholm won a clean energy award for their vacuum based underground collection system that allows them to separate waste into organic, recyclables and other forms. The development also uses incinerators to burn any combustible garbage and return it to the waterfront community in the form of energy. The system would still need to be supplemented by occasional curb or alley based collection as you couldn’t throw a broken chair or a hockey stick into the pipe, but for regular household waste it would handle the bulk of the trash removal. A big upside for the consumer is that you wouldn’t have to remember garbage day anymore.

Madrid's Collection Tubes
Madrid’s Collection Bins

Currently Waterfront Toronto, an organisation set up by the city, provincial and federal government to redevelop the public lands on the waterfront in Toronto are considering using the system in the West Don Lands. However the organisation is waiting on support from city officials to give it the go ahead. The general manager of the solid waste division of the City of Toronto stated that his department had no objection.

“Should they wish to proceed with that, it’s really their decision, not ours. If something like that was built, we could pick up the material at the end of the pipe. So the decision would be Waterfront Toronto’s or the developer’s.” s

The city appears to be taking a cautious approach to the idea but it isn’t dead yet so we may see this space age style of waste collection in Canada yet.

Automated Vaccum Collection Wiki

The Envac Site

Added Edit….
This just in, the city of Montreal has approved a plan to install a vacuum trash collection in the Quartier des Spectacles, a planned rennovation of the city’s old red light district. The city has given the plan the go ahead as the streets in the Quartier des Spectacles are all slated to be torn up to replace the underlying infrastructure; all the sewers, water lines, and power-lines need to be replaced anyway and the city has estimated that the cost of adding in the additional pipes for the vacuum system will only cost an additional $8.2 million.

The system will not only provide street collection but also provide services to all buisnesses and residents in the area with service. Not only that they will also be adding compost collection to the system too!

Envac System Diagram

Envac System Diagram


2 Responses to “Automated Vacuum Collection”

  1. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My blog covers a lot of the same subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Superb blog by the way!

    Posted by bruidspaar | 21/08/2011, 8:26 pm
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