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This Really Sucks: France's Eco-Village Pneumatic Waste Disposal System

Clichy-Batignolles Eco-neighborhood, Paris, France

Since January 2015, the inhabitants of the new Clichy-Batignolles eco-neighborhood in Paris, France have been using a pneumatic waste collection system.

This innovative waste management model, that will soon be implemented in the entire neighborhood, was born in Sweden 50 years ago and has already been adopted in numerous metropolises around the world.

How does it work?

Inhabitants of the first three apartment buildings in the Clichy-Batignolles eco-neighborhood (located in Paris' 17th district) slide their garbage bags into the green-colored receptacle in the lobby of their building.

Thanks to a pneumatic collection system, the waste is then transported at nearly 70 km/h through subterranean pipes, all the way to a center approximately 1.5 km away, bordering the boulevard that marks the city's periphery.

The bags are then compacted into containers that are then put onto garbage trucks, either to finish their lives in waste-incineration plants or to be reborn in another form via recycling.

Compacted Steel Recycling Bales, Wels, Austria

A System Used Worldwide

Today, two tons of waste are sent out of this Parisian eco-neighborhood every month. In 2018, the capacity will be raised to 300 tons and eventually, 19,500 users (6,500 being residents of the eco-neighborhood) will benefit from this innovative system.

In Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, the same concept is implemented. The 12,000 inhabitants of Forum and 22@ are able to throw their waste in public bins that "vacuum" away the waste.

The same takes place in London, Montreal, and in the 100% sustainable villages that spring up in South Korea, China, and in the Middle East.

Threefold Benefits

This innovation, which diminishes the environmental impact of waste management, has threefold benefits.

  1. It eliminates a large number of garbage trucks that loudly overrun the streets every morning;
  2. It eliminates individual garbage cans (for which it is sometimes quite difficult to find space, particularly in older neighborhoods— in Bordeaux, this is a well-known fact);
  3. Finally, once installed, pneumatic waste collection costs less to operate than traditional collection methods.

Garbage Truck Pickup, Paris, France

"Good waste" is Waste that Doesn't Exist

As innovative and ecological as they may be, subterranean garbage disposal should not make us forget that "good waste" is waste that doesn't exist. 

To truly protect our planet from pollution and to diminish the cost of waste treatment, we must first begin by reducing the packaging we use, notably plastic, and proceed with composting our daily food waste (fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and more).

Does your city use pneumatic waste collection? What is your opinion of this type of system? What method of waste management does your city use? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments area below.

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.