Alternative containment works in Kitchener
“Deep Collection” system provides solution for City of Kitchener
Municipalities and property owners are increasingly interested in alternatives to the traditional stand-alone dumpster, the unsightly wooden enclosure or, more recently, the fully enclosed and roofed structure. According to Mount Forest Ontario-based Molok North America, their Deep Collection system is a refuse and recyclables containment revolution that could drastically improve the way in which waste materials are dealt with.
In place of ugly containers hidden in the back corner of a property, these Deep Collection systems can be prominently displayed in common areas and incorporated into site design. They can be used for many kinds of developments, including IC&I or residential applications, and for parks and public spaces.
The concept of the Deep Collection system takes advantage of the laws of nature: earth temperature and gravity. With two thirds of the eight-foot container installed below grade, waste materials are kept cool in the summer, odours are virtually eliminated, and the ground’s insulating effect prevents freezing in the winter.
The small surface area (relative to the depth of the container) and its cylindrical shape cause materials to naturally compact by gravity, increasing capacity by 1.5 to 2.5 times the container’s actual volume. This compaction leads to less frequent pick-ups.
Additionally, these units are rotation-molded from a single piece of polyethylene plastic and are entirely leak-proof, so soil and groundwater are protected from contamination. Molok’s Deep Collection systems are available in different sizes (in a variety of above-grade finishes to suit any development), and for a variety of materials such as mixed waste, recyclables, cardboard and even organics and cooking oil.
City of Kitchener
The City of Kitchener, Ontario’s initial interest in Deep Collection started about 10 years ago, in the multi-residential sector, where systems were installed in low rise apartment complexes. Since then, the systems have gained popularity, and now over 80 percent of site plan applications submitted to the City use Molok Deep Collection systems as their preferred choice for waste management.
“While I was with the City of Kitchener the use of the Molok system was such that approximately 80 to 90 percent of all new site plan applications were using this system for their waste and recycling containment,” says Brian Page, VP of Municipal Affairs, Molok North America.
“Essentially this system did not require a full enclosure complete with roof and a garage door as it provided its own aesthetically pleasing enclosure, used less land area, and required less number of pick ups. This, in turn saved the developer money and provided more land area for development which gave him/her a greater return on investment, while still fulfilling all the requirements of the City’s Site Planning Requirements.”
Kitchener planning staff has been impressed with Molok’s solution and has supported the trend towards their use by installing the Deep Collection system at city facilities and parks. The City recently installed 40 units along its prominent downtown King Street, when the area was revitalized.
Molok says the aesthetic benefits of these units on Kitchener’s King Street, are many. No longer are businesses piling bags of waste on the city’s main street seven days a week. With the Deep Collection units, all materials are conveniently contained and pick up has been reduced from seven days per week to three or four days per week. Plus, with a recent increase in public events and festivals in Kitchener’s downtown, the City says their Deep Collection units have been able to meet the needs of the event goers without having to place numerous portable containers on the street.
From site layout to site safety
According to Molok, Deep Collection units can be located virtually anywhere, resulting in greater flexibility of a site plan layout. The space savings, compared to traditional waste enclosures, allows for more amenity space or landscaped areas on a site, and on small properties, these units can make it easier to meet regulatory requirements for setback and parking.
Plus, with an increasing demand for in-fill development on older, small properties, Molok says the Deep Collection system can make the difference between being able to redevelop or not. In addition, traditional dumpsters are limited in their placement by the way they’re emptied, requiring a straight-on approach by a truck, which typically results in the need for additional paved surfaces.
Molok’s Deep Collection unit, on the other hand, uses a reusable lifting bag that’s raised by a knuckle boom crane, and can be approached from any direction. When emptying, the release mechanism on the bottom of the bag is opened, allowing materials to fall neatly (and cleanly) into a truck, and then the emptied bag is returned to the unit. As these units protrude only three feet (0.9m) above grade, they are also user friendly and easily accessible by persons with disabilities, as well as children.
In many municipalities, with evolving municipal garbage and recycling separation requirements, the number of containers required on site has increased. Unfortunately, existing waste material enclosures typically cannot accommodate additional containers, often resulting in new containers being placed outside of the original enclosure. In some cases these additional containers are being located in parking spaces or being placed in landscaped areas, creating unattractive and potentially unsafe sites.
Alternatively, when additional Deep Collection containers are required, they have a much smaller footprint and avoid the need for an enclosure, making source separation relatively easy.
With respect to the City of Kitchener’s focus on safety (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design), the Deep Collection unit is proving to be an excellent alternative to traditional enclosures they’ve used in the past. The City says they like that the units can be prominently displayed on a site, serving as an activity generator, and creating opportunities for natural surveillance. The units also eliminate the risk of entrapment or ambush and naturally deter graffiti because of their round shape and exterior finish.