Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island
New York
Project executed by
Project status
USA / Residential area

A mixed income Manhattan community begun by the State of New York in the 1970’s as an early showcase for innovation and environmental sensitivity, installed an Envac system with the beginning of construction. The system continues to operate and now services the almost 14,000 residents calling Roosevelt Island home. As the development of the community nears completion, new buildings continue to connect to the system.

The system, in its 4th decade is so effective and efficient that Roosevelt Island was the only New York City Sanitation District to have uninterrupted collections, during the crippling snow storms of 2010, when garbage trucks were diverted to plow snow and garbage collected on the City’s streets for almost 3 weeks.Positive references can be obtained from the City Department of Sanitation, as well as the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, a New York State government entity.

Four major private real estate developers, with NY name recognition, are using the system with positive experience post original installation through today.

Grenadier Realty
1100 units in Manhattan Park development, built in 1991.

Urban America
which purchased approx 1000 unit building in about 2006, now called Roosevelt Landings.

The Octagon
is a beautifully restored and award winning New York landmark. Opened in 2006 with 500 rental apartments on 2.4 acres in a 13 story waterfront building it connected to the Envac pneumatic tube collection system simultaneous with construction.

In 2008, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded The Octagon LEED-Silver Certification for excellence in sustainable design and environmentally conscious construction.

Octagon developer Bruce Becker of Becker and Becker values the benefits the Envac system brings to this award winning building. “As a LEED Silver building, The Octagon residents, management and owners pride themselves on having a wide variety if environmentally friendly amenities and features. The Envac pneumatic tube trash collection system is one of our most innovative features which reduces truck traffic, noise, energy use and sanitation issues, making our building more environmentally sustainable and enjoyable.” Read more about the Octagon on the official web site.

Riverwalk consists of condominium and rental apartments with sweeping river views developed by a joint venture of Related and The Hudson Companies. 6 of the 9 planned buildings have been completed and several prominent New York Medical Schools have purchased units at the 2000-unit development to provide housing for its doctors, residents and medical students. During construction, each new building connects to the Envac system. Developers and building staff appreciate the benefits of the system for a number of reasons including the reduction of space reserved for storage of trash under conventional collection methods, added cleanliness and “curb appeal”, reduced demand on building staff time, and the satisfaction of its residents. 

Except for Roosevelt Landings which inherited an old hook up, each of these newer developments have new, modern hook ups and Envac continues to have capacity for a population which has more than doubled since original installation.


In May 2010 Fast trash, an exhibition organised by Juliette Spertus with Project Projects opened; at the Gallery Rivaa on Roosevelt Island. Part infrastructure portrait, part urban history brings an invisible system to the surface, and asks what a community built around progressive policies and technologies can teach us about how we choose our infrastructure.

Enjoy some of the exhibition material on including the documentary Nature Abhors a Vacuum by Greg Whitmore.

Basic project information
CityNew York
Project startup1971
Basic system data
Type of systemStationary Vacuum System
System subtypeSVS 500
Application areaResidential area
Design capacity8 tons per day
Number of fractions1
Number of inlets33
Type of wasteGeneral waste / Rest