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Underground Innovations

Imagine a city without open waste containers or overflowing bins, and even without garbage trucks transporting waste on the roads. This is what Envac Far East sees in its picture of a sustainable future. 

“Our vision is that underground waste collection systems will become a utility and a part of every city’s infrastructure,” said Managing Director Jeffrey Siu. “Our mission is to contribute to a better urban environment by offering innovative, rational and sustainable waste collection systems and services.”

Using a technology developed in Sweden more than 60 years ago, Envac is among the most innovative operators in the waste management industry. The Envac system replaces the regular garbage bins on a city’s sidewalks with Envac’s waste inlets. These inlets are connected to an underground pipe network that is linked to a collection station, which can be located as far as two kilometres away. 

The principle of the system works in a similar way to a vacuum cleaner, but on a bigger scale, collecting solid waste instead of dust. 

“This technology provides a 24/7, labour-free, hygienic and readily available method of waste collection for the public,” said Siu. 

To use one of these rubbish-disposal facilities, individuals simply scan a tag on the inlet and place their waste bag inside. The inlets are typically located in groups, with each providing a separate waste stream to enable efficient recycling. 

Powerful fans situated at each collection station are then activated at designated times to suck the waste from each inlet into large containers – one for each stream. 

This method of collection takes mere minutes compared to traditional waste collection methods, which require workers to complete multiple collections in various locations around a city. Once each container is full, a standard waste collection vehicle is then used to take the container away to be processed. 

The Envac system now has more than 1,000 installations in operation worldwide. They can be found in hospitals, airports and residential areas in cities around Europe, Middle East, South America and Asia. 

In Hong Kong, Envac’s technology is already in use at the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park, Cathay Pacific Catering Services, and at a number of public housing estates. However, challenges remain in the city, such as the increasing levels of waste generation, to-be-enhanced waste-treatment infrastructure, policy support for the technology and the difficulty of adapting the systems to Hong Kong’s high-density vertical urban landscape. 

While these challenges increase the pressure on the Government when it comes to finding solutions, they also create opportunities for waste-management specialists. 

“Envac’s technology can hopefully contribute to address the problems encountered in the waste-collection stream, which have remained more or less the same for many years in Hong Kong,” said Siu. 

“Hong Kong is advocating as Asia’s world city, so it is encouraging to see the Government is addressing its waste problem proactively.”


Company : Envac Far East Ltd
HKGCC Membership No. : HKE0512
Established : 1953
Website : http://www.envacgroup.com

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