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Rubbish goes underground

Maroochydore’s new city centre in the Sunshine Coast is going high-tech with an underground waste system.

Salsa Digital 11 July 2017

Going underground

Sunshine Coast Council has opted for a high-tech underground waste system rather than wheelie bins and garbage trucks for its new, 53-hectare city. The system (Envac) will suck rubbish from apartments, commercial buildings and public bins through an underground system of pipes.

The underground system will be separated into general waste, recyclables and organics so each type of rubbish will be dealt with appropriately. Envac works like a giant vacuum, with the waste sucked through the pipes at 70km/hour. It’s envisaged the system will be turned on twice a day, and from there the waste is put into sealed compactors. When the compactor is full, the Council will receive a message so the waste can be removed.

The Council announced the new system in September last year and the first shipment of pipes arrived in Maroochydore in February this year.

Underground waste around the world

Envac is a Swedish system, designed in 1961 and currently used in many cities around the world, including Stockholm, Seoul, Barcelona, London, Singapore and Beijing. The Maroochydore site will be the first in Australia.

A Government News article on the initiative said that Melbourne and Sydney looked at the system but it was harder to move forward with an established city centre (although other cities overseas have opted to invest in setting the system up).

The benefits

The benefits are obvious:

  • No noise (from garbage trucks)
  • No smell (everything is underground and compacted)
  • No vermin like rats, that are attracted to rubbish

Salsa Digital’s take

This is a great example of ‘smart city’ living in Australia, and how technology can improve our lives. We hope other councils join the Sunshine Coast Council and adopt this system in other parts of Australia.

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