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Sunshine Coast Council has just switched on Maroochydore city centre's new automated waste collection system, driven by a vacuum that transports rubbish underground at 70km per hour!

With the world focussing on social distancing, cleanliness and the use of technology to do business differently, this is a first of its kind in an Australian CBD initiative that gives businesses another reason to move to the Sunshine Coast.

Watch video: New automated waste collection system

The future of waste collection

The sophisticated 6.5-kilometre underground waste management system was designed into the new masterplanned Maroochydore city centre.

Waste and recyclables from buildings and public bins will be transported by vacuum pressure through a network of underground pipes to a control centre on the perimeter of the city centre. The material collected will then be transferred to disposal or recycling facilities.

The automated waste collection system (AWCS) will be progressively extended into future stages as the city is developed. The system will be used to manage waste from the entire precinct. 

    • Residential apartments
    • Commercial buildings
    • Public spaces

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the future of waste collection had arrived on the Sunshine Coast.

“This is Australia’s first, high-tech, underground automated waste collection system for a CBD,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“New urban developments in Stockholm, Seoul, Barcelona, London, Singapore and Beijing have all used this Swedish-designed ENVAC waste collection system but no Australian city has done so until now.” 

A cleaner and healthier city centre

The nation-leading project offers many advantages over the traditional kerbside bin collection.

Not only is the AWCS a more efficient alternative to conventional above-ground waste collection but it will also create a cleaner, healthier and more attractive city centre.

The system will result in a significant reduction in the number of large vehicles needing to access the city centre, providing a safer and more pleasant urban environment. Even better, it will mean cleaner streets with fewer odours and no wheelie bins!

Sunshine Coast Councillor Winston Johnston said the technology meant the system could be continuously monitored and the impacts measured.

“Over the long term, council aims to achieve other benefits these systems have been shown internationally to deliver like more waste diverted from landfill, reduced carbon emissions from collection trucks; and of course less truck traffic on the local roads.”

Technology of this kind also has a track record for increasing rates of recycling. 

Proposed Maroochdore City Centre
Image: Artist impression of Maroochydore City Centre

Maroochydore: the smart city

Innovation is part of the Sunshine Coast’s DNA. It’s not only residents, businesses, schools and universities but Sunshine Coast Council too. 

In fact, Sunshine Coast has just been ranked as the number 6 place for startups in Australia in the 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem report by StartupBlink.

The AWCS is just one of the smart city initiatives incorporated into the greenfields Maroochydore city centre which will feature 150,000m2 of commercial and retail space, approximately 4000 residential apartments, a premium hotel and new dining precincts.

The project is breaking ground with its extensive use of new technology including digitally controlled street lighting, car parking, water, power and signage. Smart connected street poles fitted with WiFi, environmental sensors, people and vehicle counters, digital signage and LED lights removes the need for other poles and signs.

Digital touch screen kiosks will provide interactive content to the public about events, wayfinding, local and community emergency information.

“This project is just one of the ways in which the new Maroochydore city centre will be one of the smartest cities in the country and another step towards achieving our vision for the Sunshine Coast to be Australia’s most sustainable region,” Mayor Jamieson said.

Opportunities are available for commercial and mixed use investment, prime office space and retail, dining and entertainment precincts.

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