Underground waste bins: preferable and hygienic

Smorgon begins production of containers to hold rubbish underground
By Tatiana Smirnova

It’s awe-inspiring to think how much effort is required to keep our cities clean. Trucks are continuously at work, at great cost and effort, to say nothing of fuel and workers’ salaries. Unsurprisingly, it can be difficult to find people willing to drive waste collection trucks or help load them. Dealing with rubbish is not a glamorous occupation.

Experts have long been puzzling over how best to keep our cities pristine and are planning to adopt a system already popular across Europe. Belarus has been manufacturing underground containers, first at Minsk Electro-technical Plant, and now at Smorgon Plant of Optical Machine-Tool Construction.

Tatiana Lepilina, who heads marketing and sales at the enterprise, tells us, “It’s a much more hygienic way of gathering rubbish than the usual rubbish bins. By installing underground waste containers, at public transport stops, it avoids the usual unpleasant smell of decaying waste, as temperatures underground are lower. It’s also impossible to burn rubbish when it’s underground; we’ve conducted experiments, burning the contents of the containers. Rather than thriving, the fire simply died out.” As rubbish is kept hermetically concealed, wild animals and birds cannot get into it to make a mess.

“These rubbish bins would be emptied twice monthly,” Ms. Lepilina continues. “It’s of great importance, especially at public transport stops, where the bins become filled really quickly.” Such containers are already in use in neighbouring Russia and the new technology is now being tested in Minsk. If such underground bins are installed everywhere, it should solve a lot of problems. 

“Underground containers, as a rule, are installed in public places,” emphasises the Deputy Minister for Housing and Communal Services, Anatoly Shagun. “This helps to improve the city’s aesthetics, since we only see a small opening above ground. Basically, we’re replacing simple garbage cans with underground containers. It doesn’t stop us from gathering different types of rubbish separately, for collection by different vehicles, for sending to processing stations.”

While Belarus is borrowing the main idea from Germany, its own variant uses pits with a separate ‘glass’ lining, rather than concrete. The surround is then asphalted. It’s a solution which saves on installation time.
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