Volume 2, Issue 4 (December 2017)                   J Environ Health Sustain Dev 2017, 2(4): 422-31 | Back to browse issues page

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Morakabatchian M, Almodaressi S A, Barzegar M R, Mokhtari M. Optimization of Waste Collection System Using Underground Containers with Source Separation Plan (Case Study: Zone 3 of Yazd Municipality, Iran). J Environ Health Sustain Dev. 2017; 2 (4) :422-31
URL: http://jehsd.ssu.ac.ir/article-1-94-en.html

Environmental Science and Technology Research Center, Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.
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Optimization of Waste Collection System Using Underground Containers with Source Separation Plan (Case Study: Zone 3 of Yazd Municipality, Iran)
Maryam Morakabatchian 1, Seyed Ali Almodaressi 2, Mohammad Reza Barzegar 3, Mehdi Mokhtari 4*
  1. Islamic Azad University, Yazd Branch, Department of Environmental Health Engineering.
  2. Islamic Azad University, Yazd Branch, GIS, RS Department.
  3. Master of Municipal Waste Management Organization in Yazd.
  4.  Environmental Science and Technology Research Center, Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE   Introduction: Optimization of waste collection systems can reduce waste management costs. In this study, optimization of the waste collection system of zone 3 of Yazd municipality of  Iran, has been investigated using underground containers.
Materials and Methods: In this research, after collecting information and performing field inspections, the statistical and raster information obtained from the Yazd municipality and Yazd waste management organization were introduced into ArcGIS software and based on the information obtained, including population density layer and population last estimation in zone ​​3, per capita waste production, and then considering all the information layers obtained using the GIS software, containers were located with a source separation approach.
Results: The results of this study indicate that installation of underground containers for wet waste, in addition to improving the health and environmental status, can decrease the frequency of urban waste collection from 3 days to 2 days a week. Moreover, creation of temporary storage sites for dry wastes, can also significantly decrease the route of collection, due to the reduction of the collection route from 368,000 to 180,000 meters in the new routing system, reduce the economic cost, including reducing fuel costs as 50% per day, manpower as 33%, and reduce maintenance costs.
Conclusion: Optimization of urban waste collection system using underground containers for wet waste and the use of temporary stations of dry wastes, considering the significant economic, environmental and aesthetic advantages can be considered as an appropriate option in Iranian cities especially in areas with hot and humid weather such as Yazd.
Article History:
Received: 18 July 2017
Accepted: 20 October 2017
*Corresponding Author:
Mohammad Miri
Waste Management,
Collection System,
Underground Containers,
Yazd City.
Citation: Morakabatchian M, Almodaressi SA, Barzegar MR, et al. Optimization of Waste Collection System Using Underground Containers with Source Separation Plan (Case Study: Zone 3 of Yazd Municipality, Iran). J Environ Health Sustain Dev. 2017; 2(4): 422-31.
The proper management of waste collection, which includes storage, loading, discharging, transfer to the middle and final destination of the waste, is in many cases subject to the proper selection and implementation of collection and storage equipment in such a way that these equipment in addition to efficiency, are consistent with the economic, cultural and climatic needs of the city and its physical conditions. There are currently numerous ways to store municipal waste. Given that more than 70% of waste management costs belong to the waste collection element, first of all, in order to optimize the waste collection system, attention should be paid to the inevitability of production of waste by humans at any time, and its control and organization should be considered as a national duty 1. In recent years, many studies have been conducted to optimize the waste collection system and several models have been proposed. Study by Ayyoub Karimi 2 and Hamid Amiri 3 in 2012 on using the Dijkstra's algorithm in the ARC GIS software to optimize the collection system and the study by Shekarriz with the aim of simultaneously calculating the best route for carrying municipal waste and optimally locating of waste transmission stations via Nonlinear Integer Programming method 4 are of these studies. In 2011, Komiliss in Greece, conducted optimization of the urban waste collection system using the binary model 5 and Zamorano et al. also performed locating and routing waste collection in the city of Cubana, Spain using the ARC GIS software 6. The results of these studies reveal that the GIS software as a powerful tool for optimizing the waste collection system compared to other models, can be used more efficiently in urban planning. Nowadays, in advanced countries of the world, new methods are being used to optimize the waste collection system, which are economical and optimize health and environmental issues. Many of the problems created by old waste collection systems, like easy access of waste thieves to the contents of over-ground containers, barricade, overflow of containers, displacement of containers from their location and creation of an unfavorable view have caused planners and urban planners to use underground space for this challenge. Using underground containers with various containers and underground waste collection sucking system are among these new methods 7. Studies on urban waste management in Yazd, Iran, with field surveys and interviews with experts from the Waste Management Organization of Yazd, especially the state of the waste collection system, are not far from these problems and show that storage and collection of wastes of the city is experimental and tangible and far from engineering calculations. So, the necessity of designing the optimization of waste collection system using basic and scientific methods is felt increasingly.
Materials and Methods
Introduction of the study area
The zone 3 of Yazd Municipality with an area of 3912.23 hectares, covers the western and southern parts of Yazd city limits. This area is limited from the north-east and east and from north-west and south by railway. As shown in Figure 1, zone 3 comprises 2 urban areas and 10 neighborhoods, and its gross population density is 31 people per hectare (Table 1).

Figure 1: Position of study area 8

Table 1: Extent, area and population density of the 3rd district of Yazd 9
Zone Area Population (People) Area (m²) High density
  1 74379 1927.74 39
2 46463 1984.49 23
Total area       3 120842 3912.23 31
The present study is an applied one and the combination of documentary-field methods has been used to collect data. In this research, the first step was to collect basic information through field surveys, library studies and organizational referrals. Then, identification and selection of effective measures in blocking were carried out based on population density, preparation of new population density layers, collecting blocks, and selection of type of containers required. Regarding the problems of current collecting systems, the location of containers of waste storage and optimization in the ARC GIS environment have been created and data of each of the important and effective parameters in the subject under study were analyzed with the assistance and advice of the relevant professors and experts.
Current status of waste and its management in the study area
Currently, each area is managed by a contractor. Waste collection is as a direct reference to the door of the house. The waste is stored in three ways in the bucket, the plastic bag and in some areas inside the containers, which is usually placed next to the curb or alley corner or in front of the complexes. The collection frequency for apartments is 2 times a day (morning and night) in this area and every other day in other homes. Currently, the collection of dry wastes in the city of Yazd is from the door of the house and by referring to the collection vehicles in a one-time weekly manner, the number of vehicles active in the district 3 municipality is 5 Nissan pickup trucks operating in this area. Citizens, after collecting dry wastes as mixed, deliver recyclable materials to the recyclers and in return, they receive garbage bags. In this regard, the waste management organization contractors are planning to install permanent dry waste collection stations (Citizens' Shops) and pay for material in return of delivery of recyclable materials by citizens, buy recyclable materials at the approved rates and delivering detergents, purchasing cards, etc. to citizens (Table 2, 3).
Table 2: Summary of wet waste management information in the current situation in zone 3
Zone 3 Transport Waste
storage tanks
Number of
workers collected
of wastes
Per capita waste
production (g)
First area 7 16 14 workers , 7 drivers 47 600
Second area 5 4 10 workers , 5 drivers 56 600
Table 3: Components of dry household wastes of zone 3 of Yazd, Iran
Waste components Average (Percent) Row
Corrosive materials 66.8 1
Paper 5.04 2
Plastic 7.45 3
Glass 2.05 4
Metals 1.61 5

Selection of containers suitable for storing wet waste in the studied area
One of the most common ways of storing municipal wastes is the use of urban containers 10. Although the size, design and locating the place of these containers varies from one city to another; many of the problems created by these containers are shared. Easy access of waste thieves to the contents of the container, barricade, overflow of containers, displacement of containers from their location and creation of visual contamination, are some of the problems of these containers. One of the responses of planners and urban designers to the challenge is the use of underground space and underground waste containers 11. The main storage space of these containers located underground is closed and protected. High capacity, lack of bad smell, lack of visual contamination, impossible displacement, unavailability of waste thieves to the contents of the containers and lack of accumulation of insidious insects and animals around the container are the advantages of using underground containers. Considering the difference between the night and day and seasonal temperature of Yazd city, due to the location of this city in a zone with hot, dry and desert climate, as well as presence of waste thieves and stray animals in the study area, collection of waste should be carried out in a daily routine. Nevertheless, this is not cost-effective due to the high tonnage of waste in Yazd, then one of the suitable methods for solving this problem is using the underground containers for waste storage. Other issues include aesthetics, health, and environmental issues. Therefore,  since Yazd is a touristic city, the elements used should be in an appropriate landscape view in line with the texture of this city. Moreover, considering the advantages of underground containers such as the lack of waste overflow and leakage leachate on the ground and the spill of waste by thieves and stray animals and preventing the release of repulsive smells caused by waste are some of the reasons why the use of these containers can be considered as an appropriate option.
Underground containers
Underground containers can be designed to accept a variety of wastes, so that suitable household waste containers are installed close to residential complexes and trashes suitable for street waste in crowded places. The volume of containers and type of container are calculated according to the type of collection device, per capita production, and waste volume of production. The collection of underground containers is possible in two mechanized and semi-mechanized ways; the fully mechanized collection is carried out by vehicles without the help of humans. In the semi-mechanized manner, collection is performed with the help of humans, and there is no need for a special vehicle for collection (Figure 2) 7.

Figure 2: Underground storage containers with volumes

Locating wet waste storage containers
To locate waste storage containers in the studied area, Arc GIS software which is a powerful software was used, which is based on four steps: a) blocking the zone based on population density; b) selecting and estimating the required container volume for storage of mechanized collectable waste; c) blocking the proposed site for collecting waste of the studied area; d) the correct location of waste storage containers.
Blocking the zone based on population density
Based on available graphical and statistical data, the study area was divided into three parts of low density, high density, and without population. Accordingly, with the help of GIS software, areas with a population density of more than 6000 people are populated zones and zones with less than 6000 people are considered as low population areas (Figure 3- 5).

Figure 3: High population zones

Figure 4: Low population density zones

Figure 5: Low population zones
Estimating the required volume and number of containers for storing wet wastes
In order to optimize the waste management system and according to the health and environmental considerations, engineering and correct calculations are performed taking into consideration relevant factors such as population and waste production and physical analysis of waste to estimate the volume and number of containers required for the study area. This prevents hazards such as overflow of containers in some zones or their vacancy in some other areas 3 due to population density and per capita production of waste in the study area and the prediction of the growing trend of the aforementioned cases in the next 15 years as well as the density map in the study area. Therefore, it can be concluded that the collection frequency period should be reduced from removal frequencies of wet wastes (three times a week) to twice a week. In this case, the necessity of using proper storage equipment in accordance with the implementation of container designs using fiberglass containers is recognized to be suitable by underground technology as 750-liter containers for the densely populated areas and 660-liter containers for low-density areas for storage of wet wastes.
New wet waste collection blocks
Blocking the zone was calculated based on field results and statistical calculations from the population density of each zone and tonnage of waste production. After obtaining the location of waste storage containers in the study area by GIS software and adapting it with reality, considering population density in the zone and the latest population estimate in 2014; which is presented in the descriptive table of demographic layers; the waste per capita production, number and volume of collection machinery used, we considered the population of each block between 6000 and 7000. In total, the study zone was converted to 25 collection blocks (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Proposed waste collection block
Correct placement of wet waste storage containers
In designing a mechanized system for the zone 3, the shortest and the most optimal route was considered and regarding the size of the proposed waste storage containers, taking into consideration the rules of the urban elements layout and the observance of sanitary and aesthetic issues and climate conditions of the zone, frequency of collection, quantity and quality of the waste production, population distribution map and the width of existing passages, which are generally considered as first and second degree passages, locating procedure using the GIS software is as follows:
1. Creating points with a distribution of 50 meters in blocks with a population of over 6000 people and 100 meters with populations less than 6000 people (fishnet tool in the Arc GIS environment).
2. Removing points interfering with the location of the blocks and merely maintaining the remaining points in the first and second degree passages.
3. Creating 50 and 100-meter buffer for each point.
4. Optimal modification of the number and area covered by each container.
5. Performing a new buffer for creating and deleting points to achieve the best distribution pattern.
After locating the waste storage containers, for accuracy in locating the containers in the desired zone, places of waste containers were examined by collection experts and observers in zone 3 and finally presented according to the following table 4 and figure 7.

Figure 7: Proposed waste storage containers
Dry waste collection fixed stations
Optimization of dry waste collection system is one of the challenges facing waste management due to the high costs associated with collecting and reducing the cost of recycled materials. Therefore, locating and building fixed stations for collecting recycled materials can be an effective step in reducing costs and increasing participation of citizens in the source separation plan (Figure 8). In this research, Arc GIS software was used to locate the stations according to the standard conditions including population density of zone, passage status, citizen participation rate, availability of equipment, etc., which can be observed in
Figure 6.

Table 4: Proposed number of waste storage containers
Block number Number of proposed
tanks per block
The population
of each block
50 m 100 m
1 - - - Don’t have population, forecast for the future
2 30 10 5071  
3 40 2 6204  
4 29 - 6695  
5 38 - 7461  
6 34 - 6041  
7 62 - 7059  
8 84 - 7073  
9 91 - 8774 Use fan trucks
10 47 8 5853  
11 40 - 6168  
12 28 12 7065  
13 1 42 6847  
14 48 11 6422  
15 53 - 6594  
16 55 - 5736  
17 - 43 8304 Use 750 liter tanks and collect with fan trucks
18 18 39 6406  
19 - 17 4950 Being under construction
20 - 32 6914  
21 3 28 6278  
22 - 73 4455  
23 - 50 7669  
24 123 - 7208 High population
25 - - - Don’t have population, forecast for the future
Total sum 1192 150717.2  

Figure 8: Fixed stations of dry waste considered for the study area
This research was conducted to evaluate and optimize waste collection system in Yazd city. The results of time assessment and allocation of the maximum time to the removal stage in this study show the traditional management is not based on scientific and applied issues and the use of unrelated machinery in waste management in Yazd city. The above mentioned items can quickly increase the environmental pollution and pathogens in the community. Therefore, the consideration and application of related sciences and technologies to optimize this system, which is directly related to the lives of citizens, is essential which can save waste management costs dramatically. In this regard, the proper training of workers, promotion of public culture and the involvement of non-governmental organizations on various environmental issues of waste management in urban life can have a significant impact on the proper implementation of this issue. Other similar research studies, such as Tavares et al., of the University of Lisbon, Slovakia, in 2009, have worked on optimizing waste collection systems in urban waste management in order to minimize fuel consumption using the 3-D GIS model. This article has been carried out in two cities from two different countries with a different geographic system, one in the city of Praia, Cape Verde in the African continent and the latter in Santiago Island, Ecuador. In the first city, using an optimization method, 8% fuel consumption reduction has been obtained by reducing the waste collection route, and 12% of fuel consumption has been reduced in Santiago 12. Masoud Monavari, Azadeh Medhat, in 2008, presented an article entitled “Evaluation and optimization of waste collection and carriage system in Karmandan town of Zanjan, Iran, using geographic information System (GIS)”. The results of time evaluation of the existing management system show that the total time spent collecting and disposing the waste of Karmandan town using a truck is 2 hours, 55 minutes and 42 seconds, and the average round-trip time per ton of waste is 11 minutes and 44 seconds for each trip. Also in this research, the waste collection system for the studied town was designed and estimated in terms of container location, determination of optimal collection routes and annual cost. Sixty containers of storage with capacity of 55 and 660 liters were located within the town limits, and by designing the optimal route for collecting data by GIS and by the trial and error method, the Van was calculated and proposed taking into consideration the reserved vehicle for Karmandan town. Comparing the results of this study and other similar studies suggests that proper evaluation of the waste collection system, both in terms of equipment and optimum routing, would increase satisfaction and control of costs. According to survey of the study area, the use of underground containers in addition to the environmental and health benefits of other collecting systems, having advantages such as the high capacity of the containers’ volume compared to other collection containers with a capacity of 300 to 5000 liters, reduced production of bad smell, space saving, safe against waste thieves and insidious insects, safe against fire risk, reduced visual contamination, no climate impact on the system, reduced leachate amount, reduced manpower use, use of underground container systems, and reduced noise pollution makes this system different from other collection systems.
Given that underground container is a non-native technique, implementation and use of this type of containers will have high initial costs which can be reduced through localization of this technology and hence, in the long term and taking into consideration operating costs such as reduction of manpower and reducing the frequency of collection, the use of these containers can significantly reduce the overall cost of waste management.
The author would like to thank the staff of Azad University of Medical Sciences, for their help in conducting this study.
The work was unfunded.
Conflict of interest
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use.
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Type of Study: Original Article | Subject: Special
Received: 2017/07/18 | Accepted: 2017/10/20 | Published: 2017/12/19

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