Stockholm takes utility approach to automated waste collection technology as it opts to own the systems

Stockholm now joins other visionary cities around the world including Seoul, Singapore, Helsinki and Bergen in treating waste collection as a utility and ensuring that AWCS features at the initial planning application stages as opposed to traditional bins, which are typically a post-planning consideration.

Waste collection has joined the likes of other utilities such as water and sewage in Sweden following the City of Stockholm’s decision to gradually take ownership and responsibility of a number of underground automated waste collection systems (AWCS).

The municipality’s wastewater and waste management company, Stockholm Vatten och Avfall, will start to take responsibility for the systems during the coming years. This means that private housing associations, housing companies, pre-schools and commercial operators no longer need to be responsible for ownership and maintenance of AWCS installed in their property.

Aside from easing the administrative burden of managing and installing AWCS, the move means that further installations specified in the city’s detailed plan will be much more straightforward and can be managed to coincide with other major excavation works.

The decision is part of a growing wave of international support for AWCS.  Earlier this year the Government of Singapore stipulated that all residential developments with 500 dwellings and above must install the technology – a move that is expected to see a surge in demand for the system, which relocates 80 – 90 per cent of the waste collection process underground.

On Stockholm’s decision to gradually take full ownership and responsibility of a number of AWCS installations and make the technology a critical piece of the city’s utility infrastructure, Joakim Karlsson, Chief Executive at Envac AB, the global pioneer of AWCS, comments: “More and more municipalities now understand the added value that AWCS creates if it is treated as a natural part of the city’s infrastructure. The sustainability-led benefits associated with the technology are numerous and well documented, but it’s only now that the wider logistical benefits are being appreciated. In Bergen for example, AWCS is installed in parallel with the city’s district heating, which makes significant excavation works more cost effective and less disruptive as all the utilities can be accessed, serviced and installed at the same time.”

Jonas Dahllöf, Head of Planning and Development at Stockholm Vatten och Avfall, adds: “After extensive investigations Stockholm Vatten och Avfall has proved to be the party most suitable for planning, ownership and operation of AWCS. We are now preparing to take over this responsibility to work actively towards the sustainability goals we face.”

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