Envac joins European sustainable urban development initiative

Envac AB, the world’s pioneer of automated waste collection, has become one of the key organisations involved in the €25m GrowSmarter initiative, which will bring together cities and industry to showcase 12 ‘smart city’ solutions in energy, infrastructure and transport.

The initiative, which aims to create a ready market for smart solutions and support the transition to a smart, sustainable Europe, will see Envac become one of the 12 flagship solutions to be exhibited in one of the three participating European cities that include Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona.

Envac will now play a key role in meeting GrowSmarter targets, which include reducing energy, greenhouse gas emissions and transport emissions by 60 per cent, when its technology is retrofitted into 300 apartments in Valla torg, an area that lies 8km south of Stockholm’s city centre.

The initiative will also demonstrate how the selected 12 solutions can boost sustainable economic development and deliver cost efficiencies by lowering the capital and operational cost of key urban infrastructure-led services such as waste collection and transport.

Joakim Karlsson, CEO at Envac AB, comments: “This is an exciting opportunity to play a key role in laying the foundations for sustainable growth and development throughout Europe. For almost five decades Envac has been increasing efficiencies and lowering the operational cost associated with waste collection and is proud to now have over 700 installations worldwide. GrowSmarter will provide Envac with a platform to demonstrate how it can be used to generate long-term savings alongside other innovative solutions. In doing so, I am confident that GrowSmarter will set the benchmark for sustainable urban development and that other European cities will quickly follow.”

Envac will collect the waste from 300 apartments, across four waste streams including food, paper, recyclables and general waste.

The installation will see Envac’s stationary system integrate with its optical sorting technology, using only one container and one inlet to collect the waste, which will substantially reduce the cost of the investment.

Coloured bags, each representing a waste stream, will be deposited in the inlet and transported, via Envac’s underground pipe network, to the waste collection station on the outskirts of the development. The bags will then be taken to an optical sorting facility for sorting, after which they will be sent to a recycling facility or converted into energy.

The collected food waste will be used to fuel buses, taxis and private cars. The general waste will be converted to electricity and heat and the recyclables will be transformed into new plastics and paper. Every household will have individual access to the waste disposal inlet for all four fractions. Each waste bag will be weighed separately before being air-transported to the container in the collection station, which will provide households with a complete record of the quantities of each waste stream they have ever disposed of.

Gustaf Landahl, Head of Department GrowSmarter coordinator at the City of Stockholm, adds: “The City of Stockholm is happy to have Envac as partner in this project. For us, it is important to continue showcasing new innovative solutions in order to develop a smarter and more inclusive Stockholm. Waste management is one of the areas we want to continue developing in order to minimise its impact on both the local and global environment”.

The GrowSmarter project was one of three projects chosen from over 19 submissions to receive support from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 funding stream. The initiative, which began on 1 January 2015, will run until 31 December 2019.

The system in Valla torg will become operational in summer 2017.

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