Green Graffiti Machine



October 21, 2011
DOWNTOWN WINNIPEG—The world’s most advanced green cleaning system is coming to downtown Winnipeg to fight graffiti–the first municipality in Canada to adopt the new system. The Downtown BIZ and City of Winnipeg each will now be using a brand new 100% eco friendly graffiti removal machine to keep our city clean and beautiful.
The Tornado ACS (Advanced Cleaning System), manufactured in Germany, removes graffiti from virtually any surface without the use of water or harsh chemicals. Staff do not even need to wear special protective clothing. The Downtown BIZ will run public demonstrations of the machine at the Winnipeg Green Lifestyle & Natural Living Show this weekend, October 22 and 23, from noon to 4pm, at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
“This is literally the cleanest and greenest way to remove graffiti,” says Stefano Grande, Downtown BIZ executive director. “We’re excited to be trailblazing in the area of cleanliness by using the latest in green techniques to keep our downtown clean. Kudos to the City of Winnipeg for taking the lead and supporting the Downtown BIZ in this new green venture.”
“The Tornado ACS is an additional tool which provides for a greener alternative for the year round removal of graffiti and allows for the recycling of the media for multiple cleanings. This system will enhance the overall graffiti management in the City of Winnipeg,” says Bob Okabe, Supervisor of Public Service Operations with the City of Winnipeg Public Works Department.
The new graffiti machine will be used by two of the BIZ’s 11 Metro Enviro-Team members, giving them a new tool in their arsenal to keep downtown looking clean and green. The machine–which resembles a souped-up shop vac–will cost the Downtown BIZ $400 a month on a lease. The Downtown BIZ will also save on the costs of special chemicals, safety equipment and paint that was previously used to fight graffiti. The machine is sponsored by the City of Winnipeg Graffiti Department.
The easy-to-operate and portable system is simply plugged in and granules are inserted to the level of removal needed (recycled and reusable materials such as walnut shells and glass), to blast away the graffiti, revealing the untouched original surface. The machine can be so fine-tuned as to remove ink off paper. It can be used for a variety of purposes both indoors or outdoors, such as mold removal and restoration projects, and will not damage surfaces such as Tyndall stone which makes up many of downtown’s architectural buildings.
While graffiti is an issue downtown, the BIZ’s dedicated graffiti removal team has a good handle on it so it doesn’t appear visually as an issue downtown. The BIZ’s goal is to remove graffiti tags within 24 hours from when it appears. On average, the BIZ’s two-person team removes 84 graffiti tags a month.
“Graffiti is an issue for our business community, but you wouldn’t know it walking downtown. Thanks to our program and great partnerships, we are able to stay on top of graffiti removal,” says Grande. “We are indeed winning the battle, and it’s rewarding to know we can now remove graffiti in a more environmentally friendly manner.”
The Tornado ACS can be used in cold weather and is no louder than a household vacuum cleaner. It plugs into any standard outlet. The Tornado ACS, designed and manufactured in Germany by Systeco System, has been used in Europe for years by governments and private businesses and made its North American debut a few years ago.
Dressed in forest green, the Metro Enviro-Team has 15 Enviro-Team staff in the summer and 13 staff in the winter. The Enviro-Team is dedicated to litter removal, sidewalk sweeping, flower watering and tending, cleaning bus shelters graffiti removal, poster removal, snow removal in the winter, and more. Portage and Graham avenues are sidewalk vacuumed every weekday morning before 9am. The City and Siloam Mission’s Mission: Off the Streets Team (MOST) add to the clean-and-green efforts.