Transfer stations play an important role in a community’s total waste management system, serving as a link between a community’s solid waste collection program and a final waste disposal facility.
While facility ownership, sizes, and services offered may vary significantly amongst transfer stations, they generally all allow for:
- Recovery of a variety of resources from the local community; and
- Consolidation of waste from vehicles and self-haul trailers into higher-volume transfer vehicles for more economical transport to disposal sites.
Increasingly, transfer stations play an important role in the overall waste management infrastructure network by providing means of consolidating and managing recyclables and waste. This is particularly important in regional areas where efficient transport logistics determine the overall feasibility of providing waste and recovery services.
In its simplest form, a transfer station is a facility with a designated receiving area where waste collection vehicles and/or small self-haul customers discharge their waste. The waste is then loaded into larger vehicles (eg: transfer trailers) for long-haul transport to a final disposal site (typically a landfill, treatment facility, materials recovery facility (MRF).
Ideally, there is no long-term storage of materials at a transfer station. Waste and recyclables are consolidated and loaded into larger vehicles for movement off site. The speed at which this is done largely depends on the regional facilities likely to be serviced more often.