Located along the banks of the River Thames and covering 443 acres, Barking Riverside – a partnership between The Mayor of London and L&Q – will include 10,800 new homes of mixed size and style, up to 50 per cent of which will be affordable housing, when the site is fully developed.

Plans to provide 65,000 square metres of commercial floor space for shopping, restaurants, cafés, community and leisure facilities, healthcare and schools also feature heavily in its overall vision, as well as a brand new train station to increase access to the heart of the capital.

As part of the project’s commitment to placemaking and ensuring that its residents have access to sustainable living space, Barking Riverside commissioned Envac to design and install its pneumatic waste collection system which, on completion, will be one of Europe’s largest.

Launched in 2018, Envac’s system has cut on-street bins by 98 per cent and waste collection-related carbon emissions by 90 per cent by removing the need for on-site waste collection trucks. It currently transports the waste of around 2,000 homes through an underground pipe network via airflow. The system has already had a transformational impact on residents’ recycling rates. During April 2023, 47 per cent of all waste at Barking Riverside was recycled – higher than the London average of 12 per cent for flatted properties.

Envac has launched the UK’s first ever residential cardboard shredder at Barking Riverside, one of Europe’s largest housing developments. The move will allow residents from approximately 2,000 homes to sustainably manage large volumes of cardboard waste, preventing around 105 tonnes of cardboard from being sent to landfill annually.

3 fractions

residual, dry recyclables, cardboard.

460 inlets

replacing 19 000 traditional bins.

16 tons of waste/day

total capacity because of a pipe network of 8,700 meter with the dimension of 500 mm.

105 tons

of cardboard prevented from being sent to landfills annually.

98% cut

of on-street bins.

90% reduction in carbon emissions

from removing the need for on-site waste collection trucks.

The launch of UK’s first super shredder

Retail packaging-related cardboard waste is on the up, with the average household now receiving over 200 cardboard boxes every year in home deliveries.

With the ability to shred an unlimited amount of cardboard and the capacity to transport four cubic metres of the material from the shredder to the collection station in only 26 seconds, the new addition to the Envac system will radically improve the sustainability of waste collection at Barking Riverside.

The 88cm wide cardboard shredder, which can shred packaging as large as TV boxes, is the largest ever to be used in a residential environment. It is also the first time that residential cardboard collection has been handled by vacuum waste collection in the UK, which will see large volumes of cardboard ‘sucked’ in an underground pipe network from the shredder to the collection station every day.

The giant cardboard shredder has been connected to Barking Riverside’s existing automated waste collection system. The system and cardboard shredder were specified by master developers Barking Riverside Limited (BRL), a joint venture between L&Q and The Mayor of London, as part of their commitment to embed positive recycling behaviours within the neighbourhood early on.

Barking Riverside’s cardboard waste recycling system is accessed via radio frequency identification (RFID) tags made available to residents. When residents have cardboard waste to recycle, they simply take it to the inlet and feed it through the shredder. When the inlet becomes full, or at pre-programmed times, high-powered fans located in the collection station create negative airflow that ‘sucks’ the waste through the pipes.

The launch of our communal cardboard shredder is a huge step forward for recycling levels at Barking Riverside. Not only will it reduce the environmental footprint of our residents but, by being the first development in the UK to address cardboard waste using this technology at scale, we further reflect our progressive approach towards delivering sustainable and affordable homes in London.

This is particularly important in new-build communities such as Barking Riverside, where we have hundreds of residents moving in each year, buying furniture and other household items that inevitably generate cardboard waste. Our decision to specify the Envac system, and now the cardboard shredder, sets an industry benchmark as to how large residential developments should tackle waste management.
Dave Buckley, Managing Director at Envac UK (centre) is joined by Matthew Carpen, Managing Director at Barking Riverside (centre right, in high vis), Paul Miller, Deputy Managing Director – Business Strategy and Finance at Barking Riverside (left), Chris Harrison, Headteacher at George Carey School Primary School (far right) and pupils from the school who all came to use the UK’s first ever residential cardboard shredder, which is part of the Envac system, for the first time.

About Barking Riverside

Barking Riverside is one of Europe’s largest and most exciting residential developments, providing East London with thousands of new homes.

Benefitting from a unique location directly on the banks of the River Thames, Barking Riverside is comprised of 443 hectares of land – an area as large as Hyde Park – on a brownfield site formerly occupied by the iconic Barking Power Station. Connected to central London via the recently extended Overground and River bus services, Barking Riverside is ideal for those who want fast and easy access to London as well as an abundance of green and blue spaces. 

Barking Riverside is already home to a diverse and active community of over 7,500 residents. Existing amenities and assets include five schools, one of which is an Ofsted Outstanding secondary school; two community hubs; cycling and walking routes; 80 hectares of designated ecology habitat; state-of-the-art recycling and waste management facilities; and a year-round calendar of placemaking activities, including resident-led events and cultural offerings.

Barking Riverside is delivered by master developer Barking Riverside Limited, a joint venture between the Mayor of London and L&Q housing association. The Barking Riverside project is strengthened by delivery partnerships with Transport for London, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, Bellway Homes, and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Situated at the emerging frontier of East London, Barking Riverside stands out as one of the most significant developments of today and one of the most meaningful residential legacies of the future. 

Dave Buckley, Envac UK’s Managing Director, adds: “The team at Barking Riverside Limited demonstrated its commitment to tackling traditional challenges using innovative methods when it installed an Envac system designed to accommodate almost 10,000 homes back in 2018. The installation of the cardboard shredder marks the next step in the development’s evolution, underlines the company’s commitment to sustainable waste collection and cements its position as one of the most progressive placemakers in the UK.”

Our sustainability-led ethos and commitment to making this a clean, green and pleasant area in which to live led us to this ground-breaking method of waste collection.
Wilds Exterior in Barking Riverside
Streetscape Barking Riverside with inlets
Barking Riverside aerial rendition


Our innovative waste collection system helps shape smart and sustainable cities. By reducing emissions and providing clean, green and sanitary waste inlets for both residents and commercial actors, we want to improve the quality-of-life in the city.

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