Municipalities and property owners will be interested in an alternative to the traditional stand-alone dumpster, the unsightly wooden enclosure or the (more recent) fully enclosed and roofed structure. So-called “deep-collection” for waste management is a garbage containment revolution that could drastically improve the way with which garbage is dealt.
In place of ugly containers hidden in the back corner of a property, deep collection systems like the ones provided by Molok can be prominently displayed in common areas and incorporated into site design. They can be used for many kinds of developments, including commercial/industrial/institutional, residential applications and parks or public spaces.
The concept of the deep-collection system takes advantage of the laws of nature: earth temperature and gravity. With two thirds of the eight-foot container installed below grade, garbage is kept cool in the summer, virtually eliminating odor; the ground’s insulating effect prevents freezing in winter. The small surface area (relative to the depth of the container) and its cylindrical shape cause the garbage to naturally compact by gravity, increasing the capacity by 1.5 to 2.5 times the container’s actual volume. Compaction leads to less frequent pick-ups. As the well is rotation-molded from a single piece of polyethylene plastic, it’s entirely leak-proof, so soil and groundwater are protected.
The units are available in different sizes (in a variety of above-grade finishes) for a variety of materials such as mixed waste, recyclables, cardboard and even organics and cooking oil. They also have a variety of above grade finishes available to suit any development.
The City of Kitchener’s initial interest in deep collection started in the multi-residential sector, where systems were installed in apartment-type complexes. Since then, the systems have gained popularity, and now over 80 per cent of site plan applications submitted to the city use deep collection systems as their preferred choice for waste management. Kitchener planning staff was impressed with this unique solution and has encouraged the trend.
More recently, the city installed a 500-litre version with a sleek modern design called the “StreetScape” along King Street when the downtown area was revitalized.
Deep collection units can be located virtually anywhere, resulting in greater flexibility of site plan layout. The space savings versus traditional garbage enclosures can allow for more amenity space or landscaped areas on a site. On smaller properties they can make it easier to meet regulatory requirements for setback and parking.
Traditional dumpsters are limited in their placement by the way they’re emptied, requiring a straight-on approach by a garbage truck, which typically results in additional paved surfaces. The deep-collection unit, on the other hand, uses a reusable lifting bag that’s raised by a knuckle boom crane that can reach a wider variety of places. When emptying, the release mechanism on the bottom of the bag is opened, allowing the garbage to fall neatly into the truck (and the emptied bag is returned to the deep-collection unit).
As the units protrude only three feet (0.9m) above grade, they are user-friendly and easily accessible by persons with disabilities and children alike. Each unit is designed with an opening for the type of waste it is intended to collect. Cardboard containers provide a slot ensuring boxes are broken down, while garbage units have an opening roughly the diameter of a standard household garbage bag. This design feature discourages dumping on site and eliminates the spillover that occurs with traditional open dumpsters.
Brian Page, CET, OALA, CSLA, is Supervisor of Site Development for the City of Kitchener, Ontario. Contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Thompson, CPT, is Planning Technician for the City of Kitchener. Contact Lisa at email@example.com