Council workers have now begun collecting rubbish from the new system, which is the BIGGEST of its kind in the UK, which features steel bin chutes set into the pavement, feeding into large underground chambers. A sensor notifies the council when it is full and a specialist lorry hoists the container out of the ground with a crane and empties the waste into the vehicle.
The underground bin system has been introduced at Cambridge University’s new district, Eddington, in north west Cambridge and eliminating the need for 9,000 wheelie bins. The 15-hectare site will take 10 years to complete and then provide residential accommodation for both the university and private sector in 3000 homes, as well as commercial facilities. It will eventually benefit from 450 recycling and general waste bins in the form of underground banks across 155 locations. The main benefits of the scheme for residents are the reduced visual impact of the bins and not having to store or move wheelie bins, or remember when to put them out for collection.
The underground banks are five cubic metres and there are different bins for household waste, mixed recyclables and paper. Residents have been educated about what can be recycled, with leaflets in new resident packs and labels on kitchen bins and on the steel bin chutes outside. The new system comes with large warning signs on the bin lids urging people not to climb into them as they could end up trapped in the huge underground chamber.
Underground waste and recycling systems have been common on the Continent since the early 1990’s and are now being introduced in the UK on new developments where there is limited space for bins.
A Cambridge University spokeswoman said: “Underground bins are used extensively across Europe and have been installed in accordance with our own protocols and with the advice of the local authorities.”