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The Challenge

The North West Cambridge Development, a residential area of 3000 houses due to open in 2017, is to be the University’s largest development in its 800-year history. It also aims to be one of the most sustainable projects yet, with environmental sensitivity build into the design. In terms of waste management, the development plans to tackle issues such as unsightly bins, inefficient bin collection and low rates of recycling.

The Solution

The NWCD’s answer to waste management issues is to have an underground bin system, which will be one of the largest of its kind in the UK. By locating the waste system underground, the site will avoid the 9000 wheelie bins that would otherwise have been required. Instead, waste will go into subterranean containers with sensors that alert the collection company when they are full. This means that lorries only come to collect when they are needed, which cuts the carbon emissions of the stop-start movement. Additionally the site will have separate compost bins and an on-site composting vessel. This will produce compost for residents to use in in their gardens and allotments. Finally, awareness of recycling procedures will be promoted across the site so that residents are able to maximise their recycling efforts.

The Impact

These strategies will ensure that the NWCD has a pleasant local environment, with lots of greenery instead of lots of unsightly wheelie bins. They will help to maximise the amount of waste that goes to recycling plants rather than landfill, and they will lower overall energy usage, through efficient bin collection and also the recycling itself. Such measures are important steps towards sustainability within both a local and global context. 

For more information on the NWCD, visit