Kelowna first city in North America to buy state-of-the-art trash compactor

Kelowna's new state-of-the-art, $942,000 trash compactor in action at the Glenmore Landfill.
— image credit: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Kelowna can now claim to compact garbage at its landfill like no other place in North America.

The city is the first municipality on the continent to buy a state-of-the-art new garbage compactor, a giant machine designed and built in Finland and sold through a Texas distributor, that is now being used to compresses garbage collected at the Glenmore Landfill.

"Our new compactor uses the latest technology in waste management equipment which contributes to more efficient landfill operations," said Ken Muller, solid waste supervisor for the city. "The two-wheeled compactor is more efficient than the previous four-wheeled machine as it improves garbage compaction by 20 per cent, reduces work time by 33 per cent and decreases fuel consumption by 17 per cent."

He said the city spent nine-months evaluating the huge machine before agreeing to buy if from the Lubbock, Texas-based dealer for a bargain price of $942,000. The machine normally sells for about $1.2 million but the city got a deal, in part because it is the first in North America city to buy one, said Muller.

The compactor has been in operation at the local landfill for the last eight weeks.

Muller said the added efficiency of the new machine over the current expected life of the landfill could add much as 14 years to that life because of the greater compaction the new machine provides.

In addition to high-tech features like improved compacting cylinders, specially filtered air in the cab for the operator, cutters to stop the compacting cylinders from getting clogged and a Global Positioning System to inform the operator in real time when the necessary level of compaction has been achieved, the machine is also much more fuel efficient than the city's older models.

In May alone, said Muller, use of the new compacter resulted in a 17 per cent saving to the city on diesel fuel. The compactor is the biggest user of diesel in the entire city fleet of vehicles and machines.

He said the landfill's carbon footprint is also reduced by using the new machine as it requires fewer passes to get the job done.

"I (deal in) air space here," said Muller. "So the more I can get the garbage compacted down, the better."

And he added, It's important for the city to operate an environmentally-sustainable landfill.

Before buying the compactor, the city checked with other landfills around the work, specifically in Scotland, Australia and NewZealand, that are currently using the machine. It even send one of its landfill compactor operators to Texas to use it for a day.

As a result of the city's purchase, other municipalities have already sent representatives here to check it out and watch it in action.


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