Page last updated at 09:21 GMT, Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Chutes to suck waste from estate


How the vacuum powered waste collection system works

About 8,000 residents on a north London estate are to use vacuum-powered chutes to dispose of their rubbish rather than leaving it in bags for collection.

It is hoped the system will cut mess and increase recycling at Wembley City.

Items must be separated into colour-coded containers before they are dropped into the corresponding chutes.

The waste will then be sucked through a series of pipes at 70km/h (43mph) to a central collection point, where it will be picked up twice a day.

The system has been used in more than 30 countries and originated in Sweden in the 1960s.

'No space'

Julian Gaylor, a director of Envac, which installed the system, said it was often difficult for people living on estates to recycle.

"You can't put boxes and bins in people's flats," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "They don't have the space.

"What we do is provide an inlet very, very close to where they live and make it very convenient, and that's what makes recycling easier for everybody."

The chutes can be up to 2km (1.25 miles) in length, meaning collection points can be located at the edge of estates, he added. "You can imagine a world with no wheelie bins, no dustcarts and no recycling boxes. Fantastic."

He claimed the system would lead to higher levels of recycling, as well as drastically cutting the distances travelled by collection lorries and the CO2 emissions produced by these vehicles.

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