Pneumatic vs. door-to-door waste collection systems in existing urban areas: A comparison of economic performance

N. Teerioja, K. Moliis (Corresponding Author), E. Kuvaja, M. Ollikainen, Henna Punkkinen, Elina Merta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Pneumatic waste collection systems are becoming increasingly popular in new urban residential areas, and an attractive alternative to conventional vehicle-operated municipal solid waste (MSW) collection also in ready-built urban areas. How well pneumatic systems perform in ready-built areas is, however, an unexplored topic. In this paper, we analyze how a hypothetical stationary pneumatic waste collection system compares economically to a traditional vehicle-operated door-to-door collection system in an existing, densely populated urban area. Both pneumatic and door-to-door collection systems face disadvantages in such areas. While buildings and fixed city infrastructure increase the installation costs of a pneumatic system in existing residential areas, the limited space for waste transportation vehicles and containers cause problems for vehicle-operated waste collection systems. The method used for analyzing the cost effects of the compared waste collection systems in our case study takes into account also monetized environmental effects of both waste collection systems. As a result, we find that the door-to-door collection system is economically almost six times more superior. The dominant cost factor in the analysis is the large investment cost of the pneumatic system. The economic value of land is an important variable, as it is able to reverse the results, if the value of land saved with a pneumatic system is sufficiently high.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1782-1791
Number of pages9
JournalWaste Management
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Built urban environment
  • pneumatic system
  • social life cycle costs
  • waste collection

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