In corporation with Alexander Henriksson, landscape architect and lecturer at SLU, Swedish Agricultural University, we have done some thinking what the waste management could look like in a residential area of an urban city in the future. This vision is no longer away than we can see and understand that it technically can be realized even today if we want to. That could put us no more than some 20 years ahead. 

This our concept was recently selected as an awarded contribution in a competion about the future waste management in dence cities announced by the City of Malmö.  

The key words are participation, space saving and flexible integratability

The success of waste and recycling management in our future cities will be based up on refind technical solutions for sorting, storing, transportation and waste treatment. But still, the Sustainable City 20 years ahead won’t be achieved without the involvement and engagement of residents in their day to day life. The difference will be that we will have access to much more cheap sophisticated technique to support us. In the same time prize of land will be so high it can motivate relatively high investments in order to release ground areas in the street and backyard environments from space consuming and disturbing waste handling and transportation. This will particularly be true in the well developed and high standard neighborhoods of the big cities.

Our vision is based on four integrated but from each other independent subsystems. They can be incorporated both in newly built urban residential areas as well as in existing areas. They cover the hole waste and recycling chain from the dwelling to out of the city.

• From dwellings to collecting points

• Collection in existing neighborhoods

• Collection in planned new neighborhoods

• The loading site

Feedback to residents creates participation

The sustainable waste management in our urban environments presupposes active participation of residents in the continuous work to sort and move garbage. To create participation and visibility of this work and to facilitate for residents the subsystems are designed not only to give status and feedback to the city recycling center and the neighborhood caretaker but also and equally important to residents. A mobile app show residents recycling statistics and achievments, the potential for improvements, informs about status affecting service and provides guidelines about garbage sorting. Another feature is to visually show residents what has been left in the neighborhood reusing depot and accordingly available for anyone to reuse in their own home. With the app we want to create a collective awareness and participation. Without participation it won’t work regardless of how technically sophisticated any solution might be.


Space saving collecting points in the backyards of the neighborhood

Both for new planned residential areas as well as in existing areas collection of sorted garbage including hazardous waste is performed on a collecting point located near peoples home e.g. in the backyards of the neighborhood. They are shaped as throw-in towers for all fractions except the tower for hazardous waste that consists of pull out trays. The towers are only accesible to residents, e.g. by a key tag that unlock on short range without need to have it in hand.

Towers are constructed and designed to minimize odor, noises and other disturbances to the outdoor living environment. Therefor there will be no need to hide them away, on the contrary they can preferably be placed so they can be seen and easily accessed. The two presented subsystems for collection in neighborhoods have few given design solutions, on the contrary the simple design will enable a wide spectrum of possible solutions when designing the urban spaces.


1. From dwelling to collection – Green Lizzie the new home container – a multi functional tool för recycling

It is in the kitchen, among paper and plastic bags, containers and boxes, people usually sort and store their garbage before carrying it away to a collecting point. Here in this private environment our concept takes its starting point. It is in the private kitchen and in the half-public outdoor environment on the backyard the residents voluntarily carry out the sorting so crucial for a successful recycling. To achieve this we have to make recycling a positive experience to them; easy, clean and informative.

In the kitchen we introduce a recycling container with a new thinking, Green Lizzie. It is a complete line of containers that are more than just containers to store recycling garbage in but also an aid for transportation and emptying. A tool to get all the recycling garbages out of the apartment and down to the collecting point on one and the same time and a tool for emptying without getting sticky. They are easy to clean and fits into all kitchens with standard measurements, c-c 40, 60, 80, 100 and c-c 120.

Sorting at home becomes easy, smooth and hygienic. We are convinced that will lead to residents starting to sort more quantities and to do so with better quality.


2. Collection in existing neighborhoods – the easily installable Top Recycling Line

When installing the Top Recycling Line system into an existing neighborhood the only operation necessary is to install the towers on a hard surface in a place conveniently reachable for the residents sharing a collecting point, e.g. in the backyard.

Each throw-in tower consists of a throw-in on the top and below, behind a hatsch, a collecting wheel box on 200 litres.


The collection is carried out by an operator, e.g. the neighborhoods caretaker, on an electrical articulated steer vehicle with flatbed for wheel boxes, a tail lift and a width no moore than 120 cm allowing it to be driven on walkways and on bycycle paths.


A sensor inside the throw-in tower gives the caretaker a signal on his mobil when a wheel box is full so that the collecting work can be effective only picking up wheel boxes that are full or nearly full.

All boxes bear tags and when boxes are exchanged the tag on the empty one is loaded with information about content and location when it is placed inside the tower.


The collecting points are groups of towers, one for each fraction except residual waste that may need three towers in order to keep the number of emptying visits down. A collecting point of that order including a tower for hazardous waste don’t occupy more than 17 m² per backyard with 50 households and will not need to be emptied moore often than every fourth day.


3. Collection in planned new neighborhoods – the fully automatic Sub Recycling Line

In the fully automatic Sub Recycling Line system source separated garbage and recycling materials are also collected via throw-in towers above ground into 200 litres wheel boxes underneath. The difference is that wheel boxes are placed underground in the bottom of shafts and are automatically transported away on tracks in underground culverts when full.

The tower for hazardous waste is excepted from the automatic wheel box collection on tracks but instead collected manually e.g. by the neighborhoods caretaker.

Each wheel box has a tag which is loaded with information when it is placed under a throw-in telling what fraction it carry and where it is located so it later for statistical purposes can tell from which backyard it came from.

Culverts can preferably also contain water and sewer pipes, cables with fiber and electricity which will facilitate for example surveillance.

Vehicles on walkways, aisles and in backyards are in this model no longer needed for the purpose of transporting garbage and recycling materials. But apart that it is an urban space where residents can sort and easily and cleanly dispose of their sorted garbage. A space where playground, parking lots for bicycles, entrances and recycling function can be near each other without causing conflicts. The collecting points consists of one tower per fraction plus one for hazardous waste and occupy in that order as little as 10 m2.


4. The loading site that blends into narrowed street environments

Heavy vehicles only have to have access to one single place for the collection and loading of garbage and recycling material from all houses in the area. Hence it is to this site all wheel boxes are transported, either fully automatic on track or by the caretaker on his electrical working vehicle. The wheel box tag says in which container or bin it should be emptied in and is automatically transported on track to the right location where it is emptied. Afterwards the wheel box passes a station where tag will be read and reset to zero and the wheel box washed.


Here on the loading site, the collection is carried out by side loading vehicles, lifting containers and bins with a lift mounted on the long-side of the vehicle, ant thus there is no need for space demanding towing and turning zones in the street environment.


To avoid unnecessary transports each container and bin is equipped with a sensor sending wireless information about filling level to the city recycling center (or waste management center) enabling them to plan the transports. In this way no more than two pick ups per weekday will be necessary for an area with 1400 inhabitants, occupying the lane for just a couple of minutes each. The footprint of this loading site is approximately 50 m2.