A modern city with a long history. Located on the coast between the Atlantic and high mountains, and surrounded by an archipelago, Bergen is one of the most scenic cities in northern Europe.
Bergen is Norway’s second largest city with 275,500 inhabitants. It is an old city, founded as far back as 1070, with a rich historic heritage. The hilly city centre is filled with timber houses closely packed around narrow alleys. Due to the density of its wooden housing, the city has been plagued by recurrent fires. Naturally, these unique houses are challening demanding for a modern infrastructure, not least when it comes to waste disposal. The ever denser inner city business, with growing amounts of waste and a need to offer the same source-separated waste collection options as in the surrounding area, led the city’s politicians to take a unique decision, in 2006, to install a waste vacuum system throughout the city centre.
The waste vacuum system was to be installed in parallel with the installation of district heating in Bergen Centre. Three waste vacuum systems for three different areas of the city centre were planned. BIR AS, the municipal waste disposal company, was assigned to design and procure the system. BIR Nett AS, a wholly owned subsidiary, was set up for the project.
The procurement contract for the first phase was won by Envac’s Norwegian subsidiary, Envac Norge AS, in 2010.
Financing - The waste disposal system will handle three separate waste fractions in two inlets: paper and plastic in one and residuals in the other. Both households and businesses were to be connected. Commercial users were to have special inlets capable of handling 120 litre sacks, fitted with locks and so-called access cards. This allows the individual registration and billing of commercial users based on the quantity and type of waste disposed.
The installation of the system will be financed in equal parts by households and commercial users. BIR Nett AS will provide initial installation financing by levying an extra annual charge on all households in the City of Bergen. In addition, all households that use the system will be charged per year. Also 15 self-emptying litter bins, for street litter, will be connected to the system.
Graveklubben - a unique concept for coordinating underground installations. In order to avoid this becoming a permanent burden on the city, all major installation companies have formed an association - Graveklubben. They advises on and coordinates infrastructure installations in Bergen Centre. But it is no easy concept to introduce. Many municipalities have tried but few have succeeded. Strong political support and individual effort is needed for a successful concept.
The first part of the vacuum waste system was inaugurated by the Mayor of Bergen, Harald Schjelderup (Ap), in October 26, 2015.