Waste Infrastructure Design


Waste Management in a residential / mixed use building is a very important aspect of any residential complex, however, it is very often overlooked at design stage. This has resulted in a situation where waste is deposited on the kerbside on a daily bases for up to four hours before collection. In complexes with 20 and over apartments, this means that a pile of garbage bags will be deposited daily on the kerbside in front of the complex. This creates a negative visual amenity to the complex.

Where do we start? The Waste Management Plan

The Objectives of a Waste Management Plan are to provide the develop with a clear understand of the waste that will be generated once the building becomes inhabited and how this waste can be handled in an efficient manner, minimizing its negative visual impact to the residents and to surrounding areas.

A Waste Management Plan also aims to maximise the quantity of waste recycled by providing sufficient waste recycling infrastructure, waste reduction initiatives and waste collection and waste management information services to the residents of the development.

Aspects of a Waste Management Plant

Determine type and volume of recycling, organic and residual waste that will be generated on site

Within multiple dwelling developments a range of waste materials are likely to be generated. These include general waste, comingled recyclables, organic waste, household hazardous waste and bulky waste. The WMP (through current data on waste generations per capita) estimates the volumes and types of waste generated by the different activities. The plan also takes into consideration seasonality.

WMPs are available for private residences, commercial outlets, hotels, hospitals, homes for the elderly and essentially anyplace where waste is generated.

Currently, waste is categorized as: Residual Waste (black bag), Recyclable Waste (grey/green bag), Organics (white bag) and bulky waste. Glass is collected once per month.

Design Considerations

A number of problems can arise from inadequate consideration of waste management in developments. Some of these problems include noise, odour, hygiene issues, vermin, negative impacts on health, safety, environment and security. To avoid these issues, it is vital to consider waste management in the design and planning of multiple dwelling developments.

Summary of better practice consideration in design:

  • By designing the waste management system in line with better practice considerations, significant issues with noise, odour, hygiene, vermin, security, health, safety and the environment can be minimised.
  • Noise considerations include the type of waste being generated and the collection times and locations.
  • Odour issues arise predominantly from green and organic waste, minimising these wastes and managing them appropriately will significantly reduce their impact.
  • Vermin and hygiene issues are often associated with waste storage areas not being kept clean, to avoid this ensure the areas are designed to be easy to clean and that responsibility to keep them clean is assigned.
  • The Health, Safety and Environmental impacts of waste management result from how the waste is stored, handled and dispose of.
  • Illegal activities such as dumping of waste can be minimised through careful design and placement of waste storage
  • Determine recycling, organic and residual collection service provider

The WMP looks at the collection schedule of the locality to estimate how much waste will need to be stored for how long. For example, in most localities, the residual waste (black bag) is collected on Monday morning and then on Thursday morning. This means that a complex needs to be have enough space for three days of residual waste.

In cases of commercial establishments, waste collection is generally a contracted service. This is also taken into consideration to achieve a balance between the number of collections a service provider is expected to make (i.e. costs) versus the storage space for waste (also a cost in terms of space).

Calculating the number and type of container needed

In developing sufficient waste storage, there are a number of factors that need to be considered, including how the waste will be stored and what type of bin storage area will be used.

Once weights have been calculated, volumes are extrapolated to generate the number and type of skips / containers required per waste category. For example, a 240 Litre bin may contain up to 30 kgs of residual waste or 16 kgs of recyclable waste.

Calculating the storage / collection area

Based on these figures, the area of the refuse room is calculated. The calculation takes other factors into consideration such as the type of skips ideal for the particular complex, the space required to move the different skips and accessibility of refuse collection vehicles in a large complex, amongst other things.

[Number of Containers] x [Footprint of Each Container] x [Manoeuvre Factor]

Note: The Manoeuvre Factor allocates space required to move the containers inside the storage facility

The provision and location of adequate storage areas, both within and external to dwellings is a key element of better practice systems. Within a development, the disposal of general waste and recyclable materials should be equally convenient for users, with general waste bins placed adjacent to recycling bins as opposed to being situated in different locations. Waste systems should be designed so that its use and operation is easily interpreted by users, with adequate signage and clear labelling.

Designate collection / loading area

Ideally, there is a separate room designated, however, if a separate room is not feasible, a shed or enclosure is a viable option. In all cases, the area must be large enough to store all recycling and garbage between designated collection days and permit movement of the containers. Designated areas must also meet fire safety requirements. The storage area should include amongst others:

Type of floor; drainage; door opening; size; configuration; location; ventilation; security; lighting; rodent concerns; access for occupants; signage;

Determine access route for collection vehicles and turning radius

In most residential/mixed use buildings, the collection is done on the kerbside however, there are standards that if met, a collection service provider would be expected to cart the skips to the collection vehicle. In cases of larger residential / mixed use complexes, a service area may be available which may be used for deliveries and therefore for waste collection as well.

National Waste Management Plan Future Policy Indicators

The WMP of a residential / commercial complex builds on the Government’s National Waste Management Plan 2021-2030. It therefore takes into consideration future policy changes which may affect any infrastructural investments undertaken at a particular time.

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Triq in-Nassaba, Safi, SFI 1637, Malta