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NRAs 2017: Equipment Innovation of the Year

WINNER: ACM Environmental

ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo face unique challenges with waste management. The two sites generate no fewer than 27 waste streams, including hundreds of tonnes of ‘zoo poo’ a year.

Seven years ago ZSL knew little about its waste streams, with an estimated 80% going to landfill and only a few streams being recycled. In 2010, it decided to set a challenging target to divert at least 95% of its waste from landfill by 2016.

acm environmental

acm environmental

ACM Environmental partnered with ZSL to achieve this goal – installing zoo poo compactors, 30 1,100-litre wheeled bins, 21 bin tippers with mechanically automated lifting devices and a new 7.5-tonne electric powered refuse collection vehicle (RCV) for improved ease of collections across the vast site at Whipsnade.

The bin tippers were specially designed to resolve the health and safety risks of staff during loading by eliminating the existing practice of filling up wheelbarrows full of dense waste, wheeling them up a slope, then manually tipping from a height into large containers.

JUDGES’ COMMENT: “This was a simple redesign of the initial collection process involving a bespoke piece of manual handling equipment; reducing operator injuries, raising productivity and improving both the internal and external customer experience.”

The tipping devices are bespoke, and benefits include a lower cost per unit, no ramps and potentially no requirement for the operator to manually tip the waste. The wheelbarrow is simply presented to the machine and the operation of the unit is fully automatic. This also reduces the need for more than one keeper to be involved with the emptying process.

The equipment uses proven technology, and comes with a unique bucket-style receptacle which deposits the waste into the specific type of bin required, either a tipping skip or 1,100-litre bin.

The RCV used is electric powered, which is rare in RCV technology, and it produces zero emissions, cuts the carbon footprint and conforms to latest health and safety requirements.

Meanwhile, the compactors have been designed to blend in with the natural surroundings, as have the bins, which are a robust, lockable design made from natural wood-effect recycled plastic.

The use of specialist equipment, combined with online recording and tracking, has ensured a simple, efficient, safe and environmentally friendly solution for ZSL’s zoo waste.


  • Aquapak Polymers
  • Dennis Eagle
  • FFE
  • LKM Recycling
  • Orwak Easi UK
  • SaniBin Carrier
  • VIP Bin Cleaning

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