A Q&A with Jacob Johansson


Jacob Johansson is Envac’s Project Manager on the GrowSmarter project, which is an initiative that has brought together cities and industry to showcase 12 ‘smart city’ solutions in energy, infrastructure and transport.

Describe Envac in three words
Sustainable, flexible and exciting

What are your responsibilities as an Envac project manager?
My role is to ensure that the system is installed in the correct way, using the correct components and that it is up and running at the agreed time. As part of this process I’ve been working closely with Stockholmshem, which owns all the buildings within the GrowSmarter project, and Skanska, which is overseeing the entire development.

Why was Envac selected to be a partner of the GrowSmarter project?
Envac is perfectly aligned with GrowSmarter’s aims and objectives. Quite simply, it provides sustainable waste collection solutions for dynamic, sustainable and growing cities.

What value will Envac deliver over and above traditional methods of waste collection for this particular project?
There are a multitude of benefits when incorporating Envac within densely populated city environments. In my view, the key three aspects include creating better living environments, reducing traffic volumes - heavy, industrial vehicles in particular - and the ability to provide immediate end-user feedback through RFID technology.

The project will see four fractions being collected using only one waste inlet and incorporate Optibag, an approach Envac has named WasteSmart. Why is this groundbreaking?
We generally allocate one waste inlet per fraction. So, for example, if the client is collecting dry recyclables, residual waste and food waste, there will be groups of three waste inlets at various points throughout the site. Each fraction will then be collected in one large container located at the collection station. In this case, we’ve condensed all the fractions into one inlet, which saves a huge amount of space and makes the system much more cost efficient. This is only possible by using it in conjunction with Optibag, as the waste for all fractions is deposited in colour-coded bags, which are then separated using optical sorting technology.

How many Envac waste inlets will there be across the whole site?
GrowSmarter consists of nine inlets in total. Had we not incorporated Optibag then there would have been 36, which would have required around 45m2 of space that can now be used for other purposes. Similarly, the collection station is now only 50m2 compared with the 200m2 it would have been had we used the standard system. We are likely to be adding more inlets as more buildings are constructed in and around the area, however this will not be a part of GrowSmarter.

The inauguration of the system took place recently. How much waste does the new system transport on a daily basis?
The first stage consists of 80 residential apartments ranging from one to six bedrooms in size. Envac will collect the waste of all those who live there.

What are the wider implications of Envac’s inclusion in the GrowSmarter initiative? Will the model be rolled out elsewhere?
For Envac, the GrowSmarter project has just started. We will manage and operate the system until 2020, when we hand it over to Stockholmshem. This provides us with almost three years to evaluate and fine-tune the system. GrowSmarter is quite a unique model and is therefore unlikely to be rolled out in this format again, however the Envac system used here is fully replicable and customers are already expressing an interest in the WasteSmart approach.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
I admire people with big hearts; those who don´t judge a book by its cover. Luckily it is hard to name them all.

What is your favourite book?
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.