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Is Automated Vacuum Waste Collection the Way of the Future?

December 3, 2015

We’ve all become familiar with the big, noisy waste collection trucks that frequent our businesses and neighborhoods. But could automated vacuum waste collection systems (AVAC) soon make them a thing of the past?

With more people becoming conscious of better air quality and climate resiliency, it’s a definite possibility.

These systems are already growing in popularity, with units already appearing in major cities around the world like Copenhagen, Barcelona, London, and Stockholm.

But just how do these systems works and what are their benefits? Let’s look.

How Automated Vacuum Waste Collection Systems Work

The concept may sound complicated, but these systems have been in place for many years and the technology is not overwhelmingly complex.

After underground pipes have been installed, waste collection points are placed on the surface—in both indoor and outdoor areas—nearby and are largely accessible 24 hours a day. Waste remains under the surface at these collections points until sensors within them signal the waste level triggers the beginning of the emptying process.

Waste is then pulled through the aforementioned pipeline system via a vacuum system until it reaches the central waste station—which is usually located nearby. Upon arrival, waste is automatically sorted into its proper container and remains there until it can be transported to a landfill or composting plant by way of truck.

Sounds efficient, right?

Not only that but AVAC systems help reduce the need for garbage trucks constantly circling neighborhood.


 More and more people are becoming conscience about air quality and the health of our environment in general. If their popularity grows, AVAC systems can help improve both of those.

Limiting the usage of garbage trucks is the main environmental benefit of these systems. Instead of trucks circling residential areas and stopping at each individual home, they only truck the trash from waste station to landfill.

Along with limiting air pollution, AVAC systems can be beneficial from a cost-savings perspective, as well.

Given that these systems require don’t require a lot of manpower for operation and maintenance, the waste companies operating them would not have to pay as many employees. This is especially true when you consider that, with AVAC systems, the number of waste trucks needed to pickup and dispose of trash would be significantly less.

Other benefits of these systems include waste not piling up and causing foul odors and the fact that they also encourage users to recycle more efficiently.

It’s no surprise, then, that the major cities mentioned earlier are starting to implement AVAC units.

Are They the Future of Waste Collection?

 So, then, are they the future of waste collection? It’s difficult to say.

For major cities, such as New York, digging up existing roadways throughout the city in an effort to install these pipelines seems to be a bit of an obstacle when considering widespread use of AVAC systems.

However, that doesn’t prevent them from gaining popularity.

As new construction projects continue popping up, it may make more sense to begin installing these systems in new residential areas or new business districts. That’s likely where they will be taken advantage of the most.

Even if that’s the limit of their use, it will still be a step towards minimizing environmental pollution and moving to more cost-effective waste solutions.

Disposal of hazardous waste doesn’t have to be painful.