Maroochydore’s new automated waste collection system

The first stage of underground pipes for Maroochydore’s high-tech automated waste collection system were installed in late June.

Representatives from system designer and manufacturer Envac, visiting from South Korea, are overseeing the installation with project teams from Sunshine Coast Council, SunCentral and lead contractor Shadforths.

The waste system is the first of its kind for an Australian CBD and will be installed in stages over the coming decade to make the 53-hectare Maroochydore City Centre one of the cleanest and greenest in the country.

Rather than using wheelie bins, waste will be transported from commercial buildings and apartments at up to 70kmh through a 6.5km system of underground vacuum pipes located beneath the new city centre.

Acting Mayor Tim Dwyer said installation of the pipes was a milestone for the project and for the new Maroochydore CBD.

“It’s exciting to see an innovative, nation-first project like this taking shape on the Sunshine Coast,” Cr Dwyer said.

“Workers and residents in the new CBD will never have to walk past rows of wheelie bins or be woken early by noisy garbage trucks.

“This system will also benefit our environment and help make the Sunshine Coast Australia’s most sustainable region by increasing recycling rates, as has occurred in systems installed overseas.”

Common aspects of waste collection such as odours will be avoided due to the underground system, and the costs of daily street cleaning will be reduced.

Director of Infrastructure Services Andrew Ryan who is responsible for council’s waste management, said public areas would have their own waste inlets, enabling the new city streets, parks and plazas to be effectively serviced by the new technology and avoiding overflowing bins.

“Automated underground waste collection is just one of the ways in which the new Maroochydore CBD will be among the most technologically advanced in Australia,” Mr Ryan said.

“This system can be installed because we are building on an undeveloped, greenfield site within an existing urban area – and that has many other benefits.

“For instance, we are also building a high-speed fibre optic network into the city’s very foundations, which will enable us to provide ‘smart’ signage, free Wi-Fi hotspots, real-time transport information, movement sensors and smart lighting.”

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