If the shoe fits

Australia’s retail shopping centres are plagued by a body of waste that never seems to end. The Bigbelly compactor has helped tackle the problem in Melbourne.

What happens when you take a shopping centre and add thousands of hungry shoppers and large groups of tourists making a last minute shop before flying home? Huge piles of rubbish.

From takeaway containers to shopping bags and shoeboxes, Australia’s Vicinity retail shopping centres generate a substantial volume of waste every day. With bins filling rapidly, cleaning contractors Consolidated Properties responded by installing a Solar Bins Bigbelly Solar Compactor at Melbourne’s Vicinity-owned Northland Shopping Centre.

Nicknamed Big Ben by the facility team at Consolidated Properties, the compacting station has compressed more than 60,000L of rubbish over the past six months, reducing weekly waste collection from 18 times a week to five.

The newfound time enables the facility team to concentrate on keeping the other areas of the centre in the best possible condition for its visitors.

Along Melbourne’s iconic Yarra River, Vicinity has also installed a Bigbelly at DFO South Wharf to tackle the centre’s shoebox waste problem. The centre is a tourist hotspot, with hundreds visiting each day before leaving Melbourne. According to Solar Bins, customers are often concerned with reducing their luggage, and need to leave shoe boxes behind.

Over the past six months, the Bigbelly compacted more than 80,000L of cardboard waste collected from a single station. The station follows the campaign “If the shoe box fits…”, inviting shoppers to deposit their unwanted shoe boxes in specially marked bins throughout the centre. It collects around 140 shoe boxes a day, alerting facility staff when it’s full. This has led to a tidier shopping precinct, reduced team resources and a greater recovery of cardboard, which is diverted from landfill to recycling.

Solar Bins says it wouldn’t be possible with an effective collaboration between Vicinity Centres, waste and cleaning contractors and retailers.

Due to the success of the initial instalments, Vicinity is deploying Bigbelly stations in other shopping precincts throughout the country.