Mini artic fleet aids Stirling's recycling drive

To meet the demanding waste disposal and recycling targets set by the Government and the EU Landfill Directive, Stirling Council has stepped up its waste collection and disposal operations by adding bespoke mini-articulated vehicles from trailer manufacturer, Traiload, for its new kerbside collection service.

Like most local authorities in the UK, Stirling Council is working hard to devise more effective waste collection and recycling strategies to meet the initial Government target of increasing recycling to 25% by 2005 and, in the case of Scotland, to divert 25% of biodegradable waste from landfill by 2006.

At the heart of Stirling's waste management strategy is the implementation of a new household kerbside collection service. Funding for the service is provided from a £32 million grant given by the Scottish Executive to the Council to assist with the implementation of the Forth Valley Waste Plan.

Initially introduced on a three-month trial basis in May 2003, the scheme, which comprises the provision of separate bins for compostable garden waste and cardboard, as well as a recycling box for items such as bottles, cans, paper, plastic milk bottles and textiles is proving to be a notable success. In June alone the scheme ensured that more than 60% less rubbish was dumped at the council's landfill site.

Mini artic trailers

A key component in the scheme's success is the council's new fleet of ten bespoke articulated trailers supplied by Corby-based trailer and traffic management vehicle specialist, Traiload, part of King Highway Products Ltd.

David Hopper, Waste Services Manager at Stirling Council, commented, "We wanted vehicles that would be easy to operate and provide maximum productivity. Our fleet manager therefore suggested we use mini-articulated trailers that would provide optimum payload but also be compact enough to provide good manoeuvrability. We also wanted vehicles that could be driven by people that held just an ordinary driver's licence. If the vehicle was too big we would only be able to use drivers with LGV licences which would restrict us from being able to quickly find and replace drivers when needed."

Close liaison

In order to meet these aims Stirling Council worked closely with Traiload to develop a high performance waste collection vehicle that precisely matched the council's needs.

Hauled by Isuzu NPR77 urban tractor units, the uniquely designed trailer, which provides a maximum payload of 3,100 kg, is constructed from lightweight pierced beams and aluminium floor with hinged side pods.

The trailer is also fitted with seven standard stillages, each of which can carry up to half a tonne of household waste such as paper, textiles and plastic bottles and two further stillages located above the trailer's fifth wheel, for the specific carriage of glass bottles and containers. The stillages are made from a combination of plastic and steel to help reduce the weight of the trailer.

Other design specifications include a rear tailgate on the trailer which can be easily removed to facilitate fast, easy cleaning of the trailer floor and wind down legs used for parking the trailer when not attached to a tractor unit.

David Hopper continued: "When specifying the vehicles one of our main objectives was to optimise productivity. The beauty of the Traiload design is the demountable body system. As soon as a trailer returns to the site full of waste, we can quickly detach it then attach an empty body ensuring that the vehicle is soon back on the road making collections."

Although the Scottish Executive has set the biodegradable waste diversion target to be increased by 25% by 2006 for local authorities in Scotland, Mr Hopper says that the new vehicles are currently collecting around 1,200 tonnes of waste per month. In fact, by using the new vehicles the council has projected an annual collection of around 8,000 tonnes, which if met and combined with the contents of the brown, wheeled bins, will result in Stirling Council diverting more than 40% of waste from landfill by 2006.

Stirling's Waste Services Manager concludes: "We are extremely pleased with the new vehicles, which meet our operational requirements precisely and also the service provided by Traiload that has been highly responsive and efficient. Furthermore, in addition to providing improved waste collection, the acquisition of the new fleet has also benefited the community by increasing employment opportunities.

"For each kerbside collection team we need a driver, plus two bin collectors who separate the waste by hand on the kerbside then place it in the appropriate stillage on the trailer, so the acquisition of the new vehicles has also contributed to the creation of 40 more jobs." Following the successful operation of the initial ten trailers and eight tractor units, Sterling Council has recently ordered three further Traiload mini artics



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