Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Waste management and circular economy

Waste - 25.03.2004

Intelligent bottle banks for municipalities
It is a world first : since 17 March 2004, the commune of Auderghem, in Brussels, has set up "intelligent bottle banks" on its streets. The technology of these recycling containers enables them to collect, sort and crush glass. When a container is full, it automatically sends a signal to the collection service to let them know it needs to be emptied.

The sorting and recycling process is simple : inside the container, the bottles are automatically sorted by colour (transparent or coloured); any non glass object (cans, plastic bottles...) is transmitted into a separate receptacle.

The glass is then crushed to be recycled. Crushing the glass also reduces its volume by 70%, which increases the capacity of the container.

The manufacturer, JCDecaux, supplies the bottle banks for free and is responsible for their maintenance explains Bruxelles-Propreté spokesperson, Dominique Degrave. In exchange, it sells advertising space on the sides of the container.

The only cost for the municipalities is thus the electricity needed to operate the sorting and crushing devices.

Another advantage for municipalities is the savings in human resources. Since the bottle bank sends a signal when it is full, the collection staff never need to empty half-full containers.
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