Cooperation brings smart waste treatment one step closer

16 April 2019 • 3 min reading time

The city district of Amsterdam Zuidoost has taken its first step towards fully CO2 neutral waste transport. Under the supervision of TNO and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, two companies – SUEZ and Renewi – have managed to transport part of the district’s waste in a more sustainable way. During a pilot project, they more than halved their transport runs, substantially reducing CO2 emissions. An efficient collection and transport system, featuring an electric box truck, delivered organic waste for local recycling.

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Fewer transport runs

This pilot project was launched by several large companies in Amsterdam Zuidoost. The goal was to assess the feasibility of reducing transport runs by combining the collection of separate waste streams. To this end, for the purposes of the pilot project, the waste treatment companies SUEZ and Renewi combined their transport flows to boost the efficiency of industrial waste collection. TNO came up with the concept, analysed the data, made sure the pilot took place and managed it.

"The CO2 emissions were reduced from 15,9 tones per year to zero."

Electric box truck

During the pilot project, SUEZ transported all the organic waste, oil and fats, glass and coffee cups in an electric box truck that was specifically used for this project. Organic waste was recycled locally, at Rotie in Amsterdam. Renewi transported paper and cardboard waste in a compactor truck. The compactor truck in question is compliant with the EURO 6 emission standard – currently the most sustainable stage. By combining their waste streams, SUEZ and Renewi were able to reduce their mileage. This was a remarkable example of cooperation between two competitors. Together, these waste treatment companies cut their transport mileage for organic waste, oil and fats, glass and coffee cups from 51,000 km to 16,700 km. This involved the use of an electric truck. This enabled them to reduce their CO2 emissions from 15.9 tonnes per year to zero. The emissions figures for the paper and cardboard route have not yet been calculated, as too little data was available. 

"Rather than collecting waste on a fixed day, it will be collected when containers are full. This will reduce noise and the number of trips."

separate notifications for individual waste streams

SUEZ and Renewi’s customers are closely involved in the pilot project. They used the CoMyCo (“collect my container”) app to indicate their daily quantities of waste, per waste stream. Records of the trucks’ load factors showed that about a quarter of the space in the transport vehicles remained unused. The idea is that, moving forwards, companies and organizations will routinely communicate details of the amount of waste they are holding, broken down into individual waste streams. This will enable SUEZ and Renewi to plan an efficient route, with stops at each of the participating parties. Also, rather than collecting this waste on a fixed day, they will only do so when the containers are full. That will reduce noise, as well as the number of trips for their vehicles. In large metropolitan centres, which are becoming ever busier and more densely populated, that is an increasingly important consideration.

towards CO2-neutral waste transport

The participating parties are: ABN AMRO, CSU, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, ING, Johan Cruijff ArenA, Nationale Nederlanden (formerly Delta Lloyd), Vattenfall (formerly NUON), and Amsterdam UMC’s AMC site. Together, they involve a total of 17 waste collection sites in the Zuidoost district.

This pilot project has convinced the participating parties that much can still be done to improve the sustainability of waste transport. The waste treatment companies are now working on an app of their own, based on the CoMyCo pilot app. Customers will be able to use this app to indicate how much waste they are holding, per waste stream. In addition, waste treatment companies will soon be able to automatically calculate when to dispatch vehicles and along which routes, to collect industrial waste as efficiently as possible. If this proves to be a success, they plan to implement this approach throughout the Netherlands. The companies are working on ways to improve waste separation within their organizations. This will make it possible to collect even more waste streams in this way in the future. Amsterdam UMC’s AMC site is also working on a biodigester that generates heat for the hospital.

Thus the first step towards CO2 neutral waste treatment has already been taken in Amsterdam Zuidoost. All of those involved are now working on the following steps.

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