The Sunshine Coast is unveiling Australia’s first, high-tech, automated waste collection system for a CBD, to be installed in the new Maroochydore City Centre.
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.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said the waste system would be installed in stages over the coming decade and would make the 53-hectare Maroochydore City Centre one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the country.
“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," he said.
“Common aspects of waste collection such as odours and vermin will be avoided, and the costs of daily street cleaning will be reduced.
Each building in the new CBD will include at least three waste inlets – for organic, recyclable and general waste. Waste dropped into each inlet will be stored in a sealed compartment below ground until the vacuum pump is activated at the central waste facility, usually twice each day.
The vacuum system will then consecutively collect each type of waste, sucking the waste through a system of underground pipes to the central facility, where they will be stored in sealed compactors for collection by council’s contractor.
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.
Mayor Jamieson said the waste system will help to make the city look more attractive, but also have significant environmental benefits.
One such example is the technology's track record of increasing recycling rates.
“The waste system will cost $21 million, which will be fully recovered from occupants of the CBD over the life of the system," he saidEnvac Asia Region President Chun Yong Ha flew to Maroochydore from Seoul, South Korea, to join Mayor Jamieson in announcing the company’s first Australian contract.
Mayor Jamieson inspected the Envac facilities when he was in Seoul in May this year and progressed discussions with Mr Ha at that time about the installation of this technology in Maroochydore City Centre.
“Our systems are becoming increasingly popular across the Asia-Pacific region and we are delighted the Maroochydore CBD will be our first Australian customer,” Mr Ha said.
“The Sunshine Coast is a beautiful part of Australia and our system will help it stay that way by increasing recycling as well as cutting emissions, and reducing safety risks associated with manual garbage collection.”
SunCentral Maroochydore CEO 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.
“Automated underground waste collection is just one of the ways in which the new Maroochydore CBD will be one of the smartest cities in Australia,” Mr Knaggs said.
“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.
“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.
SunCentral hopes to become a city which sets a new standard for urban design in Australia.