Monday 18 May, 2020 — New Zealand-owned waste management and streetscape maintenance company, Civic Contractors
, has introduced an innovative, electric-powered (EV) truck that sanitises wheelie bins and steam-cleans city streets
with high-pressure hot water.
The 11-tonne truck picks-up, hot-washes and steams the insides of various-sized wheelie bins, killing pathogens and
bacteria (including Covid-19) and eliminating bad smells. Its dual function pressure-washes and sanitises hard surfaces
like city streets and pavements, using steam.
“Hot-washing and steam cleaning is an effective solution for killing pathogens and bacteria that spread disease, but
also that attract rodents and make the rubbish bins stink. Now with the Covid-19 crisis, the issue of sanitisation of
hard surfaces and bins has become more important than ever,” says Bjorn Revfeim, managing director of Civic Contractors.
The truck is the first vehicle of its kind in New Zealand and has multiple features that reduce its impact on the
environment: EV technology; the use of hot water rather than chemical agents for cleaning and sanitising; and a system
for capturing dirty water to prevent it from entering local waterways.
“We’ve custom-designed the truck in the hope that New Zealand will take further steps to increase environmentally
friendly waste collection services such as residential food waste collections, and eventually eliminate the need for
single-use plastic bags in public streets and parks bins,” Revfeim says.
The vehicle cost over $300,000 to design and build and was partially funded by a governmental Energy Efficiency and
Conservation Authority (EECA) grant.
The EV truck runs around 200km or eight hours working time before it needs to be charged. Limitations in current EV
technology means it requires a small diesel unit to heat the water for the bin-washing equipment, but Civic says this is
a short-term solution until technological gains are made in this area. Compared to a diesel truck of this size, the
reduction in carbon emissions is approximately 25 tonnes CO2-e per year.
The new EV is based in Auckland and will begin operating from Monday 18 May.
“Initially, we are going to get the truck working within our existing streetscape contracts – so, cleaning street bins
and other street furniture and footpaths. In the future, we hope to see it being used at hospitals and medical clinics,
food manufacturing and processing facilities, and any commercial businesses that are sensitive to organic waste
material. At this stage, we’re interested to hear from other businesses and industries that might be interested in
trialling out our new machine,” says Revfeim.
Civic is also currently trialling a new ‘bin-housing’ design for wheelie bins that will prevent more than one million
plastic bags going to landfill each year, lower the cost of public bins and reduce the need for waste collections given
the larger capacity for waste.
The bin-housing is designed and constructed in New Zealand from recycled and recyclable plastic. It will be safer and
easier for Civic staff to empty, and reduce the high number of muscular injuries (typically back strains) that occur
within the waste industry due to manual emptying of waste from bins.