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The only method used in transporting and moving solid waste has been the “dreaded” rear loader or side loader compactor refuse trucks, technically known as RCVs (refuse collection vehicles) with manual labour to support the movement of bins to the vehicles. This method has not changed since the days of the horse drawn carriage to the present deplorable diesel engine trucks. The vehicle may have changed but the method still involves extensive labour, appalling stench and spillage of toxic leachate. Garbage left by the streets and in open and closed bins also results in breeding grounds for all kinds of pests, insects and rodents.
In many progressive cities today, visionary planners and developers are adopting a new and unique solution to the problem of refuse collection in highly populated areas. This solution of pneumatic waste systems, also popularly known as Automated Waste Collection System (AWCS), transports refuse by vacuum in underground pipes offering a solution to match the evolutionary process of moving infrastructure below the ground.
AWCS works on the principal of solid waste being conveyed pneumatically by underground pipelines from its place of generation (landed properties, apartment blocks, commercial facilities, etc.) to a central collection facility where it is loaded into sealed containers and compacted before being transported using regular hook lift trucks to a treatment centre.
Pneumatic conveying is based on the physical principle that air, under certain conditions, is able to convey heavy materials. In nature air can carry many substances, such as sand, leaves and seeds. Pneumatic conveying causes air to flow by creating a pressure difference between the start and end of the pipe. To allow solid matter (in this case solid waste) to be transported, the driving flow forces of the air must be larger than the forces – weight, friction and inertia – acting on the particle. This airflow in the pipe using the measured air velocity of 18-23m/s is ideal to move all general solid waste material from one determined location to another.
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