New compaction trailer to help reduce carbon footprint

Five times as many containers can be shipped in a single load

Published on November 22, 2012

TRURO - Sometimes, more is less.

And that is precisely the case with a new compaction trailer being tested by the Resource Recovery Fund Board (RRFB) of Nova Scotia, which will enable it to ship more than five times as many beverage containers in one load than is currently possible.

"With this we're able to compact the beverage containers and get upwards of 28,000 to 30,000 pounds per load and over 500 bags of containers," said RRFB CEO Jeff MacCallum, following a demonstration in Truro for depot operators on Thursday.

Under the current system, beverage containers that are sorted and picked up at Enviro-Depots remain in their original state, which means they take up a lot of air space. Under that system, only 78 bags, weighing, 5,000 to 6,000 pounds can fit on one tractor-trailer.

The new, larger trailer uses an auger system from the rear to compact the containers. When it comes time to unload them at RRFB's site in Amherst, a ram unit located at the front of the trailer pushes them off in very short order, which further saves time and energy.

"We're taking trucks off the road, we're reducing greenhouse gases but also saving costs, which makes the system more sustainable," MacCallum said.

The new compaction trailer is a pilot project that until Thursday had only been used for testing purposes in Halifax with clear containers.

"And what we wanted to do, because it was new to the world, or new technology, was to test it and get some real world data," MacCallum said. "Now that we've got some data we're going to be looking at some aluminum cans next in it."

And once those tests are complete, he said, RRFB will do some analysis to see what is required to extend the compaction program into the rest of the province.

"Really, what this does is we're bringing some new innovation and technology into a system that really hasn't seen a lot of change in about 16 years, " he said.

"So eventually we're looking to reduce the number of sorts at depots and help them reduce some of their costs as well."

The cost of the compaction rig is about $400,000. But with estimated cost savings of about $158,000 per year, MacCallum said, the unit will pay for itself in less than three years.