Pipe dream, or future of NYC trash removal?
The City of New York sifts through 11,000 tons of trash per day along with 2,000 tons of recyclables. That’s a remarkable amount garbage, but even more amazing is managing to find ways to efficiently deal with all this waste. Could a pneumatic pipe collection system work?
- NYC facility sets the bar for single-stream recycling
- Former ‘world’s largest dump’ is becoming one of NYC’s biggest parks
The (air-related/air-operated) piping system idea works something like this:
Trash is literally sucked through a complicated web of underground pipes like a vacuum. These pipes would run from city streets and buildings (the drop off points) to area waste facilities. The technology itself is nothing new, and the city already has quite a large underground (basic equipment needed for a business or society to operate) in place to install the pipes.
Underground tunnel system in NYC
Huge underground tunnel system in New York City. Source: Wired
A (air-related/air-operated) pipe waste collection system would remove (keeping things clean and disease-free) trucks from the roads and save the city quite a bit of money, although much of that money would go right back into maintaining the new collection system. New York City spendsabout $1.6 billion per year on garbage collection and disposal.
Probably, an underground (air-related/air-operated) waste collection system would also reducethe stink of rotting trash and number of rats on city streets.
University study supports the idea
City College of New York‘s University of Transportation Research Center (UTRC) has studied this whole idea for the past three years. Its findings, published in a 2013 report, found the running costs of an (air-related/air-operated) system would be 30% less than the current garbage collection system, although the (money paid at the beginning) of (combining different things together so they work as one unit) such as system within the city‘s current (basic equipment needed for a business or society to operate) would be big.
AVAC (air-related/air-operated) waste collection system
The report also noted a 60% reduction in energy and more than 50% reduction in pollution (that heats up the Earth) (things sent out or given off) with the (air-related/air-operated) trash collection system.
It’s already being used on Roosevelt Island
It’s called Automated Vacuum Helped Collection, or AVAC. It‘s a series of 20-inch wide pipes(related to winning a battle) placed around town to collect trash. The system has been used on the island since the ’70s.
Trash zooms through the pipes at around 30 mph and eventually reaches the sorting facility where it is compacted, placed in containers and then shipped to a move (from one place to another) station.
Problems arise from time to time, mainly jams in the pipes, but these problems are easily fixed with a little manual poking and poking/encouraging by workers using a changed drain hole-drilling tool.
Since it was launched more than 40 years ago, the AVAC system has experienced very little downtime; an event involving thousands of phone books mixed with water caused a nearly two-week shutdown (more than two, but not a lot of) years ago (see video), but other than that, it‘s been (compared to other things) smooth sailing.
The (old/allowing to get old/getting older) AVAC system on Roosevelt Island is more than over due for upgrades. For instance, it cannot separate recyclables from general trash; it all gets mixed together and sent to the move (from one place to another) station. The technology to separate valuable recyclables from household trash is out there, but it‘s a too expensive issue right now for the folks on Roosevelt Island.
NYC waste removal going forward
If NYC were to put into use an (air-related/air-operated) waste collection system, there‘s no doubtit would be (the best design available now) and the best in the world ((air-related/air-operated)trash systems are now being used in more than 30 countries).
(air-related/air-operated) trash collection in Nassau County
(air-related/air-operated) trash receptacles in Wembley New City, London, United Kingdom.Source; Envac
The team of (people who work to find information) at UTRC guess (of a number) that an AVAC-type system could be realistically put into place in Manhattan in the next 50 to 100 years.However, the team also talked about/said that it wouldn‘t be surprised to see testing of such asystem far sooner than that, possibly this ten years.
The idea that one of the world‘s biggest cities could (almost completely/basically) eliminatetrashcans, piles of trash and commercial dumpsters from curbsides all around the city is anattractive effort. Doable/possible? It seems to be, although it would take quite a bit startupmoney to make it happen. It would also be, by far, the most long/big piping system of its kind.
It’s something that‘s definitely worth looking into because it could help clean up the streets of New York. That said, it‘s such a huge difficult project to get a system like this up and running that it may prove to be not worth the time and effort. If anyone can do it, though, the great people of NYC can get it done!