Ray of light over Sunshine Coast as Australia turns to automatic waste collection
Australia will launch its first underground waste collection system in Sunshine Coast Council, the country’s fifth largest municipality, as part of a major redevelopment programme that will deliver some of the nation’s most sustainable building design and create over 30,000 jobs by 2040.
Envac, which invented underground automated waste collection in the 1960s, will handle the waste of over 2,000 apartments, retail outlets and commercial space in Maroochydore, which was declared a Priority Development Area by the State Government in July 2013.
Replacing traditional bins will be Envac’s waste inlets, which connect to an underground pipe network and transport waste using airflow to a central waste collection station. The system will collect three waste streams including general, organic and recyclable waste.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson has said that the waste system will be installed in stages over the coming decade and make the 53-hectare Maroochydore City Centre one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the country.
On Australia’s first underground automated waste collection contract, he comments: “I’m very proud the Sunshine Coast is leading the charge in Australia with this innovative waste collection solution and I’m sure other cities and major urban projects will soon be following in our footsteps. 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. Common aspects of waste collection such as odours and vermin will be avoided, and the costs of daily street cleaning will be reduced. As well as making our city heart more attractive, this technology has a track record of increasing recycling rates, so our natural environment will benefit too.”
Envac is one of many smart city innovations that will position Maroochydore as a flagship sustainable building design project. Other technologies will include smart lighting, real time traffic management systems and high-speed fibre connections. The waste system will cost $20 million, 50 per cent of which will be fully recovered from occupants of the development over the life of the system and 50 per cent by the developer.
John Knaggs, CEO at SunCentral Maroochydore, which will oversee the design and delivery of the new city centre, adds: “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. 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. Our city centre will be an exciting place to live, work and visit while setting a new standard for urban design in Australia.”
Envac Asia’s Regional President Chun Yong Ha flew to Maroochydore from Seoul, South Korea, to join Mayor Jamieson in announcing the company’s first Australian contract. On the deal he concludes: “Our systems are becoming increasingly popular across the Asia-Pacific region and we are delighted the Maroochydore CBD will be our first Australian customer. 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.”