Romainville inspired by vacuum waste collection system
Le Monde | Elsa Sidawy | 10.25.11
On Saturday 15th October 6,000 inhabitants from four areas of Romainville were present at the inauguration of the first vacuum waste collection service in France. In total, 106 collection points have been installed at the foot of buildings in order to collect the household waste and recyclable packaging from these 2,602 apartments. From the outside almost nothing distinguishes them from the buried containers with which many cities have equipped themselves over the last few years. The invention is actually hidden beneath the surface, where four kilometres of pipes will bring waste towards a compressor. As Sophie Landrin recalls in an article for Le Monde on October 11th 2011, the advantage of the system is that it operates in a vacuum. The waste dumped by inhabitants is temporarily stored in tanks. When it reaches a certain weight, the bin liners are sucked away to the terminal at 70 kph. They are then collected once a day by a lorry and taken to recycling centres or treatment plants.
The town, located in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, hopes it will thus reduce visual and olfactory pollution due to refuse lorry traffic. The city is also counting on a reduction of collection costs. Inhabitants’ tax bills could be brought down to 120 Euros per year, according to local authorities.
Over 600 systems installed throughout the world
The Swedish company Envac, partner of Veolia Propreté for this market, is experienced and has already installed over 600 systems of that kind throughout the world. Most big Swedish cities have equipped themselves with the system. In the Ile-de-France region, the town of Les Lilas should be part of the Romainville system as early as 2013.
A prohibitive investment
The biggest obstacle to this system today remains the investment cost: for this 10-million Euros operation, Romainville will have paid out 2.8 million Euros, the remainder being supported by public partners. This constitutes additional expenditure in public finance that not any local authority can afford: Narbonne, for instance, put a stop to the construction of its system in 2006 for financial reasons.
Photos credits: Envac
Translated by Oona Bijasson