As more local Councils release increasingly stringent waste management guidelines, it’s worth interrogating whether our existing established waste management solutions are equipped to deal with the implications of a renewed focus on waste separation and resource recovery ‒ especially as many developments incorporating infrastructure for this renewed focus have yet to be constructed.
Chute Systems – Hailed for Convenience
For multi-storey residential developments, chute systems have reigned in popularity for their convenience to residents in establishing a single, spatially constrained drop-off point, and simplicity of design.
Councils have released guidelines dealing with the disposal of recyclable materials and waste via these chutes, in many instances calling for mandatory chute systems when a residential development exceeds a certain number of storeys, such as City of Melbourne, where chute systems are required for developments with six or more storeys.
However, with many local Councils adopting a resource recovery focus, it’s no longer sufficient to provide a simple two-stream option for waste disposal (commingled recycling / general waste) but, instead, impose measures to manage four streams (commingled recycling / general waste / organics / glass).
To incorporate a solution to serve these streams, a waste management solution must consider not just convenience, but spatial, financial, management and sustainability concerns when preparing a waste management plan (WMP) for a multi-storey residential development.
Chute System Alternatives
Waste Management Strategies hinge on effective waste separation from both an infrastructural and behavioural perspective.
Infrastructurally, a waste management solution must be efficient, autonomous, and effective in separating waste into distinct streams to improve resource recovery. Many developers seek to minimise the waste management footprint within a building, however, strategies implemented to solely prioritise space ‒ such as diverter chute systems ‒ may encounter issues such as delays in disposal (both if residents on other floors use the chute simultaneously and when switching between different waste streams), and increased break downs than other less spatially-focused alternatives (such as dual, triple, and quad chute systems).
Behaviourally, a waste management solution must be appealing and straightforward to use. If a resident is facing delays when disposing of waste, they may grow impatient and, instead of separating the waste into designated streams (which will lead to increased resource recovery), the resident may simply dispose of all waste in one place, resulting in contamination within the bins.
A good chute system alternative seeks to tailor a waste management solution to the development, incorporating the specific design challenges and priorities of a developer and residents.
Alternatives to chute systems as the sole means of waste disposal may include:
- A combination of chutes and bins on each level.
- A bin room on each level.
- A single, centralised bin room in proximity to the collection point, with no chute system provided.
- Waste compactors and organics processing units to reduce spatial requirements, waste truck movements, and collection costs.
Prioritising resource recovery over convenient waste disposal for residents, Merri-bek City Council (formerly known as Moreland City Council) have started to require a centralised bin room to be provided for residential developments, accommodating bins for general waste, recycling, organics, and glass, in lieu of a chute system, regardless of the number of storeys proposed. Will other Councils start adopting a similar approach?
Case Study: Nightingale Anstey
Ratio previously worked on the Nightingale Anstey development in Brunswick where residents take an active interest in the waste management strategies for the building.
The WMP prepared by our consultants acted as both an education piece for the residents and a working plan for the owner’s corporation. The plan provided tips on reusing and recycling, outlined a waste system that encouraged users to sort their waste and suggested implementing a cardboard baler and designing a smaller waste room footprint.
Nightingale Anstey opted against the convenience of a chute system in favour of a centralised recycling centre on ground floor, containing bins and equipment to manage the storage and collection of multiple waste streams. This waste management solution ensures that waste stream separation rates and resource recovery are maximised and also serves as a design feature in the building where residents are educated on strategies to meet higher waste standards.
How we can help
Ratio’s Waste Management team delivers a considered response that considers the economical, functional, and environmental challenges of each development.
Our team consider each project as a unique proposition and deliver a unique range of strategies that consider the requirements of Councils, developers, building managers and residents to provide a solution that will lower overall waste output, costs associated with collection and environmental impacts.