Litter Master cleans up roadside rubbish removal

Legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar was universally known as the “Little Master” for the way he cleaned up hapless bowling attacks in his glittering career.

Tendulkar shouldn’t be confused with the Litter Master, which is cleaning up roadside rubbish across parts of Melbourne.

Department of Transport partner DM Roads is using the Litter Master 9000, a large industrial vacuum cleaner mounted on a trailer and towed behind a truck or ute, to keep the 1000 kilometres of roads and bridges in north-west Melbourne clean and tidy.

Its makers say the Litter Master is the perfect solution for rapid vacuum collection of items such scattered drink cans, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, leaves, broken glass, newspapers, plastic bags, straw, grains, wrappers and other loose rubbish in a fraction of the time it would take to do manually.

DM Roads Contract Manager Martin Kinski said the Litter Master was earning its keep for many reasons, not least because it made collecting litter safer and more efficient for the two employees that operate it every day throughout Melbourne’s north-west.  

“Since the introduction of the Litter Master, the amount of litter being collected with the same resources has more than doubled,” Martin said.

“It’s also safer for employees, improving manual handling when compared to the traditional litter pick-up tool, and holding a garbage bag in the other hand.”

Martin said DM Roads was collecting about 200 cubic metres of litter each month – equivalent to about one-fifth of an Olympic swimming pool – using the Litter Master and traditional methods.

The litter, including cans, cardboard, wrappers and cigarette butts, packaging and plastic bottles, is taken to Epping waste-to-resource business Repurpose It for sorting and recycling.  

“We also send all our street sweepings and drainage waste to Repurpose It where it is recycled through an innovative process to extract and recycle any valuable resources such as rock and metals,” Martin said.