The Shared Waste Service for Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire District Councils has begun collecting residential waste from innovative underground bins at the University of Cambridge’s new district, Eddington in the north-west of the city.
There will be no wheelie bins at the development, instead residents will take their waste and mixed recycling to sleek steel bin chutes set into the pavement outside their homes. The items fall into a large underground chamber, and a sensor notifies the council when it is full, so that collections need only take place when needed. A specialist lorry then hoists the container out of the ground with a crane and empties the waste into the vehicle.
The main benefits for the residents are the reduced visual impact of the bins (one underground bin replaces around 20 wheeled bins), and not having to store or move wheelie bins, or remember when and which bins to put out for collection.
The new system is the largest of its kind in the country and it is an integral part of the University of Cambridge’s innovative vision for Eddington to create a sustainable living space for people and to help them lead more environmentally-friendly lives.
Cllr Mark Howell, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for environmental health, said: “This is an exciting and welcome step forward in designing in waste management needs at the planning stage for new developments, and using new technologies like fill-monitoring systems to minimise the impact of collections on traffic and emissions.”
Cllr Rosy Moore, Executive Councillor for Environmental Services and City Centre, added: “This significant project represents a completely new way of working with partners to collect recyclable materials and waste in an urban environment, so to see it come to fruition with this attractive system operating is very satisfying. We look forward to continuing to work with the North West Cambridge Development team to deliver a great service to residents.”
The 150-hectare site, when completed, will benefit from 450 recycling and general waste bins in the form of underground banks placed across 155 locations, eliminating the need for around 9000 wheelie bins.
Educating residents about what can be recycled has been a key part of implementing the collection system, with clearly labelled bins provided in kitchens which match the signage on the steel bin chutes outside. Leaflets are provided in new resident packs, and information is available on the online residents' portal along with all other details about living at the development. Signage on the specialist vehicle thanks residents for recycling and motivates them to take part.
Heather Topel, Project Director of the North West Cambridge Development said: “The University’s vision for Eddington to be an exemplar of sustainable living has been shared with the local authorities throughout planning for the development. We hope that the bin system will help people live more sustainably by encouraging residents to think more about integrating recycling and waste into everyday life. The unique underground bin system is something which has captured the attention of many and we hope it will also be of interest to the local community.”
The specialist waste collection vehicle will be operating at the ‘Open Eddington’ open day on Saturday 9 September, demonstrating how the underground chambers are emptied. For more information visit http://www.opencambridge.cam.ac.uk/