We often hear or read about ‘the next big thing’, or how the latest technology will ‘revolutionise’ a way of doing things and improve our lives. But how many of those live up to expectation? More importantly, how many claims are built on solid evidence from those who the technology has been designed for?
Whilst Envac does not claim to be the next big thing, a series of studies have indicated that traditional waste collection could become a thing of the past in densely populated environments – and that user satisfaction is on the up when it comes to automated underground waste collection.
Spreading happiness in Spain
A survey revealed that 86.1 per cent of people preferred using Envac than relying on manual collection methods using heavily polluting waste collection vehicles.
The findings also revealed that a staggering 89.3 per cent would urge their local authority to consider installing Envac if they moved to an area where it was not in place and that 89.9 per cent of people believe that Envac contributes to creating cleaner spaces and ‘more pleasant’ urban environments.
This compared with a resounding 85.4 per cent of respondents who felt that traditional waste collection methods are responsible for traffic problems.
The survey, which included 2,151 respondents across Santander, Alcobendas, Majadahonda, Vitoria, Zaragoza and Seville, polled existing users of the Envac system.
The survey also revealed how:
- 94.5 per cent of respondents approve of the Envac system
- Almost 80 per cent of people believe that Envac is less polluting and emits less carbon emissions than traditional methods of waste collection
- 86.4 per cent felt Envac was more convenient to use than traditional methods of depositing waste
- When users were asked why they approved the system 39.7 per cent claimed that it was easy to use, 33.4 per cent felt that it was clean and 11.1 per cent cited that it was because the system is odour-free.
The full report from Spain is available in Envac Knowledge Bank, in English and in Spanish.
Spreading happiness in South Korea
A similar study in South Korea’s Gwacheon City, which comprises two systems with a total pipe network spanning 18.1km and 279 inlets, interviewed 430 people that used the system.
The findings revealed how user satisfaction was 76 per cent, with 31.41 per cent and 47.24 per cent claiming that the system was ‘very convenient’ and ‘convenient’ respectively.
Reasons for their approval were as follows:
- Convenience of use, 24/7 = 57.68 per cent
- Improved hygiene compared with traditional bins = 30.48 per cent
- Reduced risk of accident, smell of rubbish and noise = 1.84 per cent
Not only did satisfactory levels rank so high, but also 69.8 per cent of respondents stated that they would be happy to make an additional payment for the installation of the Envac system.
The findings, which followed respondents’ usage of the system for almost three years, has led to discussions that could see the Envac system rolled out across Hengbok City and further expansion of the technology throughout South Korea.
Spreading happiness in Sweden
Another decisive response follows an independent survey, carried out by Novus, a market research firm in Sweden, which saw 294 interviews of Hammarby Sjöstad residents take place in June 2014. The study sought to establish the general sentiment around using the Envac system.
Hammarby Sjöstad is a flagship model for sustainable development located in Stockholm, which has attracted worldwide attention for its innovate approach to sustainable planning. The development welcomes over 10,000 people each year including architects, politicians and urban developers, all looking to establish how the lessons learnt from Hammarby can be applied to their own individual developments and countries.
The respondents, 94 of which were interviewed online and 200 by telephone, ranged from 18 years old to 79 years old.
The findings revealed how users:
- Felt safe when using the system throughout the day including evenings and throughout the night
- Agreed that the Envac system was always available for use
- Easily understood how the system works
- Approved of the system’s cleanliness and agreed that it was fit for use
A happy ending is in sight
Understanding how users feel about the Envac system is crucial for the continued success of the technology. It also indicates how local authorities and developers must take note of the growing importance of waste collection in modern, urban environments in order to effectively provide solutions that their stakeholders, residents and customers now demand.
Waste is no longer a secondary function but an integral piece of the placemaking puzzle. These findings indicate how it is no longer good enough for waste to simply be collected, but that there is growing demand for waste collection to be a clean and hygienic process that is more convenient, safe to use and environmentally sustainable.
Perhaps what is one of the most striking points, and one that should make developers take particular notice, came from the South Korea study, which revealed how residents would be prepared to pay for the system to be installed. Where there is an evidential case that demonstrates how developers can add value to their sites through the installation of Envac – and if this demand is being driven directly by prospective users - then one of the major barriers to the system’s uptake, which has traditionally been the developer’s quest to make profit rather than provide developments that add value to and enhance people’s lives, will be overcome.
In doing so, Envac will be able to continue spreading happiness and adding value to more and more communities throughout the world.