The planned Wembley City development is huge – 4,200 homes as well as retail and commercial property over an 85 acre site.

Once complete the whole site will be served by Envac’s system of underground vacuum pipes which transport rubbish from strategically positioned bins to a single sorting station where it will be compacted and taken by truck to recycling facilities in Greenwich and west London with non-recyclables going to out-of-town energy from waste incinerators.

Residents and workers will be expected to sort their own waste into three streams – dry recycling, organic waste and non-recyclables.

The high tech bins do the rest.

On Tuesday the system was switched on Tuesday and already serves some 600 properties.

Envac claims that as well as doing away with the inconvenience and disruption of bins lorries, the system will save 400 tonnes of carbon a year, even once the energy needed to run the vacuum pipes and compact the waste is taken into account.

Company director Jonas Törnblom said that while similar systems of varying scale are up and running in 30 other countries, this is the first time the technology is being used in the UK.

“It all boils down to our expectations on a functioning urban infrastructure and what we’re prepared to pay for it,” he said.

“Someone has to show that things can be done differently and there are better alternatives.

“A residential area should be a dynamic, clean and attractive environment where people enjoy living. It should be a safe place to meet other people and a space for recreation that isn’t tainted by rubbish awaiting collection.”

Sam Bond

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