In conjunction with leading Underground Refuse System manufacturer Contenur APSE Solutions held two successful field trip events this year. These events were intended to demonstrate how underground refuse systems can transform refuse collection in the UK. The first trip was to see a ground breaking development in Cambridge. Here, underground units add to the modern clean feel of new housing and has reduced collection costs by around 50%. The second event was held in Edinburgh where underground systems have been installed at a number of locations, including as a replacement for conventional litter bins in Princes Street Gardens and at new student accommodation in the City Centre.
The benefits of installing URSs in new residential developments are easy to identify. A huge reduction in the cost of collection is the most obvious but they can also have significant environmental benefits and add to the quality of life for residents. Developers can also benefit as the cost of installation can be less than that of creating bin storage areas and the space saved allows for additional units of housing to be included on the site.
Edinburgh University Student Accommodation makes good use of an underground system supplied by Contenur to optimise space and keep the site clean and tidy. This system uses a hydraulic platform housing standard 1280 litre containers rather than the 5000 litre capacity of the Cambridge bins.
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The student accommodation we visited in Edinburgh is on a compact infill site and would have been difficult to construct without the URS.
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On sites where there is space for the crane mounted vehicle to operate, underground containers can accommodate the equivalent of 20 240 litre wheeled bins to reduce frequency of collection and minimise the space required for the storage of refuse.
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Delegates attending the Cambridge event saw a demonstration of a standard URS collection and also visited a localised bring site where residents are able to recycle a range of materials. In many areas this would involve a trip to an out of town HRWC making it difficult for those without cars as well as raising issues around the environmental desirability of such facilities.
One use of URS that should be explored further is in commercial waste collection. Small businesses such as shops and restaurants often have little storage space for above ground commercial waste containers and in many town and city centres these ugly bins are now a permanent presence on the street. In others, the sight of piles of black sacks and cardboard piled up on the pavement at all times of day and night spoils amenity value and is welcomed by only seagulls, foxes and rats. Frequent collections – daily in many cases are necessary and with multiple providers the impact on the environment, public safety and cost to small traders is significant. URS can transform all of this with greatly reduced frequency of collection, an end to the need to either keep bins out on the street or take up expensive space inside business premises and a major improvement in the look and cleanliness of town and city centre streets. We know that above ground bins are a major contributor to street litter so it is reasonable to expect a reduced need for cleansing as well as for refuse collection.
For more information about underground refuse systems, please contact Head of APSE Solutions Andy Mudd on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 772 1810.