Non-recyclable and recyclable waste fractions are collected by the municipality of Athens using rear loading refuse collection vehicles (RCVs).
The bulk of the collection fleet are 16cu m rear loaders fitted with trunnion/bin lifting equipment. These are mounted on Mercedes Econic 1828 4x2 two-axle chassis, powered by liquid natural gas to help reduce emissions.
The remainder of the fleet are 16cu m rear load vehicles with trunnion/bin lifting equipment mounted on a conventional dieselpowered Iveco Eurocargo 190 EL28 4x2 two-axle chassis. They also feature a bin washing device in the rear tailgate canopy.
The municipality also uses smaller RCVs of 7cu m capacity mounted on Iveco Eurocargo 4x2 two-axle chassis. These collect waste from streets with narrow access or where cars are doubleparked and block larger trucks.
The collection crew comprises a driver and two loaders for the larger vehicles and, for some of the smaller satellite waste collection vehicles, a driver and one loader.
At night the driver takes a fully loaded RCV to either the mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant at Ano Liosia, north of the city, or to the Schistou waste transfer station. Both facilities are operated by ESDNA, the intermunicipal owned waste management company responsible for treating waste produced across the region of Attica.
Ano Liosia is one of the largest MBT plants in Europe, while the Schistou waste transfer station has a daily processing capacity of 600 tonnes. Waste delivered to Schistou is transported daily by a fleet of Scania 8x4 Multilift LHT 320.56 hook loaders to the Fyli sanitary landfill site at Ano Liosia or to the MBT plant. During the day, the RCVs deliver directly to Fyli. This disposes of all municipal waste which cannot be processed in the MBT plant.
Once the smaller waste vehicles are full, they return to the main depot, where they discharge their loads into one of four 46cu m rear-loading semi-trailers, which hold 25-27 tonnes of waste.
Once loaded, an Iveco Trakker two-axle tractor unit hauls the trailer to either Ano Liosia or Schistou to be discharged during the night or to the landfill in the day. Use of these rear loading semi-trailers enables the smaller RCVs to collect a second load.
The municipality of Athens also operates a mobile waste container service for larger waste producers such as hospitals and industry. These can be delivered and collected using a conventional Scania P94 4x2 two-axle skip loader, a Scania P94 4x2 two-axle hook loader or an Iveco Trakker 6x4 three-axle hook loader vehicle.
Smaller non-compaction vehicles collect bulky waste and deliver it to a facility at Iera Odos-Egaleo, where it is then reloaded for bulk hauling to the Fyli landfill.
The Athens waste management system is to be further developed with the construction of a waste transfer station, where municipal waste will be reloaded into top-loading 56cu m trailers. It will then be bulk hauled to the MBT plant or landfill to achieve higher levels of productivity and reduce damage to the conventional fleet of larger RCVs from having to drive off-road at the landfill site.
At a glance: Athens waste management
- Population: 667,000 – this doubles in the summer from tourism
- Waste management system: provided 365 days a year
- Waste produced: 311,000 tonnes a year
- Fleet: 45 waste collection vehicles driven by 245 drivers
- Operation: vehicles and staff are based at a central depot and offices, near all the central road networks, aiding efficiency
- Collection rounds: two for non-recyclable waste and two for recyclables
- Waste collection programmes: 167, so that waste may be collected in certain districts in the night, the early morning or mid-morning; in some city centre areas waste is collected three times a day
- Containers: green 1,100-litre containers for non-recyclable waste, sited at communal collection points along the street; blue 1,100-litre containers for commingled dry mixed recyclables
Timothy Byrne is a waste management consultant specialising in the collection and transfer of waste in Mediterranean countries