Plastic Omnium underground waste system success in Tower Hamlets and Lambeth

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DSC02253The Plastic Omnium Sulo underground refuse system (URS) combines high capacity with removal of unsightly groups of bins which can lead to litter spill and vandalism. Already installed throughout the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Tower Hamlets as well as in Blackpool, Peterborough and Cambridge, they make a major contribution to maintaining a clean environment.

Alan Craddock, Project Manager of Plastic Omnium’s Environment Division explained, “The Sulo range provides local authorities and companies with aesthetically pleasing, unobtrusive disposal and collection points which combine increased security with low maintenance and vermin deterrence. Collection is less labour intensive and comprehensive cleaning and support can be provided as part of the supply contract. This is not just for sanitation but to ensure compacted waste doesn’t reduce capacity within the underground container.”

Underground units come in three standard sizes – 3, 4 or 5m3 compared to a standard four-wheeled bin with a maximum capacity of around 1.1m3. The above ground ‘columns’ are of contemporary stainless steel design with a secure ‘night-safe’ opening and the option of an additional foot pedal. Their appearance is aesthetically pleasing while their fixed position removes any cost of bin replacement for the local authority.

DSC02252Specially designed collection vehicles are essentially remodelled RCVs employing specially designed crane and hydraulic equipment to lift the columns.  The URS is lifted over the rear of the vehicle using a hand-held remote, a counterbalanced floor rising to fill the void.

For cleaning, the bin is lowered into a purpose-built vehicle provided by Plastic Omnium / Sulo for the inside of the main waste container to be power washed, waste water being retained for authorised disposal. Column handles are also regularly cleaned using Sulo antibacterial wipes and labelled by the local authority to identify when the service last took place.

The decision to install in Tower Hamlets came about after the council received Government funding to modify and update its housing stock. While a number of bin providers install URS across the borough, the lion’s share has been provided by Plastic Omnium / Sulo. Poplar HARCA housing association currently has 190, typically positioned outside high density social housing or privately-owned apartments. The service uses just two fully-trained crews, each having an HGV driver wo is also the certified crane operator and a second member who acts as a look-out for the driver while bins are being manoeuvred. Most URS are emptied once a week, regardless of whether they are full or not, although some locations receive a twice-weekly collection.

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