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Vacuuming Trash in Toronto

Photo from WATERFRONToronto

A vacuum trash collection system is potentially coming to Toronto. Last week a report went to City Council seeking support for building vacuum waste pipe connections in new homes in the West Don Lands development. If made a reality, it would be the first of its kind in Canada

Its a technology that has the potential to make garbage disposal extremely convenient and clean for residents. It uses pipes in the ground connected to your home to move trash to central collection spots. Basically, a user puts their waste into one of three chutes (organics, paper, garbage), and it gets sucked away to underground to collection areas. Out of sight, out of mind.

Proponents claim the systems can increase diversion rates (more convenient to sort) and cut costs by eliminating curbside pickups.

A good description of how the system might work, with a diagram, can be found in this National Post article.

The idea seems to make more sense in the context of waste incineration, which is how it is used in Scandanavian countries. The waste is incinerated and the resulting electricity is used to for heat in the homes. Its unclear whether the proposed development would include an incineration element in their system or simply sort into the three streams for disposal.

WATERFRONToronto was set up by the city, province, and feds to redevelop public land on Toronto's shore, and is leading the push for the project along with developers.

An innovative new idea that sounds cool to boot. Toronto could certainly use some innovation if it is to make any progress in its waste diversion goals of 60 per cent by 2006 (expired) and 100 per cent by 2010.


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