The first large cardboard shredder for public use in the UK has been installed at a Barking Riverside housing development.

Some 2,000 households can now tackle large amounts of unwanted cardboard packaging without harming the environment, preventing 105 tonnes of waste a year having to fill dustbins in the street to be sent to landfill sites.

The shredder has been connected to underground suction pipes to remove the waste instantly for recycling.

“The shredder is a huge step forward for recycling,” Barking Riverside’s head of estates Sarah Phillips said. “It is reducing the environmental footprint using technology on a large scale.

“This is important in new communities where people moving in buy furniture and other household goods that generate cardboard waste. The shredder shows how residential developments can tackle waste.”

It can shred packaging as large as TV boxes and is the first time in Britain that residential cardboard collection has been handled by vacuum waste, which sucks it into an underground pipe network straight to a collection point.

The shredder has been connected to Barking Riverside’s automated waste collection system, which was installed in 2018 as part of a neighbourhood recycling programme.

It has been installed by vacuum waste collection pioneer Envac, which has reduced dustbins on the streets of Barking Riverside by almost 98 per cent since 2018 and carbon emissions by 90 per cent by removing the need for rubbish collection lorries.

The system transports waste from 2,000 homes through an underground pipe network airflow, with 47 per cent of all Barking Riverside waste being recycled, compared to the London average of 12 per cent.

Cardboard packaging is increasing, the company points out, with the average household now getting through 200 boxes a year from home deliveries.

But the new Envac system at Barking Riverside can shred any amount of cardboard and transport it directly from the shredder by underground vacuum pipes to the collection point in only 26 seconds.

Householders take their cardboard waste to the inlet and feed it through the shredder themselves, where high-powered fans create airflow suction through the pipes.

The expanding 443-acre riverside development will eventually house 10,000 families — all moving in with new furniture and other goods wrapped in cardboard ready to be recycled at speed.