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A refuse chute system is a type of waste management system that is commonly found in high-rise buildings such as apartments and office buildings. It typically consists of a series of metal chutes or tubes that are mounted vertically within the building and are used to transport waste materials from individual floors to a central collection point, such as a dumpster or compactor.

  • Refuse chute system is a convenient and safe mode of transportation and collection of domestic solid wastes from buildings exceeding 5 storeys from floors at different heights.
  • The refuse is received from the successive floor through the inlets located on the vertical system of pipes that convey refuse through it and discharge it into the collecting chamber, located at ground level, from where the refuse is cleared at suitable intervals.
  • This system has got four functionally important components, namely, the chutes, the inlet hopper, the collection chamber and the cleaning and disinfecting arrangements.
  • The chute may be carried through service shafts meant for carrying drainage pipes. However, the location shall be mostly determined by the position of the inlet hopper and the collecting chamber that is most convenient for the user.
  • It should also be considered to locate the chute away from living rooms in order to avoid noise and smell nuisance.
  • The internal diameter of the chute shall be at least 300 mm.
  • In individual chute system, the inlet hopper shall be located in the passage near the kitchen and in the common chute system towards the end of the common passage.
  • Natural ventilation should be adequate to prevent any possible odour nuisance.
  • There should be adequate lighting at this location.
  • For ground floor (floor 1), the inlet hoppers may be placed at a higher level but should be easily accessible.
  • The access to the refuse chute shall be provided from well ventilated and well illuminated common corridor or lobby and preferably it should not be located opposite or adjacent to entry of individual flats or lift.

1) Opening for feeding of refuse chute

  • Opening, with top or bottom hinged shutters with appropriate lockable latch, shall be provided for convenient accessing of the refuse chute by users.
  • It facilitates total building garbage collection at one single point and provides separate collection for dry and wet garbage.

Chute system shall have the following features.

  • Sanitation system for internal cleaning of chutes, with sprinklers at every floor intake level, with disinfectant cleaning, which may preferably be automatic in operation.
  • Exhaust system with 25 to 35 air changes per hour.
  • Discharge end fire resistant door.
  • Chute may be of masonry, R.C.C. pipe, asbestos cement pipe or suitable non-corrosive material, preferably stainless steel. It should be rigid with smooth internal finish, high ductility and alkali/acid resistant properties.
  • Fire rating shall comply with Fire and Life Safety Code.
  • Fire sprinklers shall be provided inside chute.
  • Vent shall be installed at roof level to remove foul smell and gases generated.
  • Chute should discharge to trolley directly.
  • Necessary automation of the system may be planned to avoid malfunction  by manual operation; and
  • All care shall be taken for ensuring accessibility to the chute for persons with disabilities. The opening of the chute shall not be higher than 700 mm and there shall be a clear space of minimum 1500 mm × 1500 mm in front of the chute opening to gain easy access even for persons using wheelchairs. 
  • There may be high colour contrast provided around the chute opening to make it easy to identify it. The flooring in front of the chute opening may be texturally highly different from the rest of the floor.

2) Refuse collection chamber

  • The collection chamber may be located in ground floor or basement level, provided appropriate arrangement is made for drainage of the collection pit by gravity flow to ensure its dryness, an appropriate ramp access is provided for convenient removal of garbage from the collection pit, and satisfactory ventilation is provided for escape of gas and odour.
  • The floor of the chamber shall be provided with drainage through a 100 mm diameter trap and screen to prevent any solid matters flowing into the drain and the drain shall be connected to the sewer line.
  • The floor shall be finished with smooth hard surface for convenient cleaning.
  • The height of the collection chamber and vertical clearance under the bottom level of garbage chute shall be such that the garbage trolley can be conveniently placed.
  • The collection chamber shall be provided with appropriate shutter to prevent access of scavenging animals like cattle, dogs, cats and rats.

3) Refuse collection room

  • The refuse collection room should be planned in ground or basement level with appropriate ventilation and proper drainage.
  • The room should have access for vehicle or trolley transfer of garbage.

Overall, refuse chute systems are an effective and efficient way to manage waste in high-rise buildings, reducing the workload for building management and improving the quality of life for residents.

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