Waste not, want not
The Waste Management Concept
Impressive recycling rates
„Z’ Fryburg in de Stadt / sufer isch’s un glatt“ – „In Freiburg city, it‘s clean and pretty“, the lyrical outpouring of Johann Peter Hebel some 200 years ago. The people of Freiburg show great commitment when it comes to the separation of waste and their 90 kg of nonrecyclable household waste per capita, well below the national average of 122 kg, is testament to this. Overall 69% of total waste is recycled in Freiburg. This recycling rate is made possible by the provision of a high-grade, differentiated collection system – and particularly thanks to the early city-wide introduction of the compostable waste bin.
Waste management plan and educating people about waste
The City has managed the growing volume of waste with a comprehensive waste management plan for the last 25 years. Its slogan „Avoid, Recycle, then Dispose“ is intended to demonstrate ways of moving from being a „throwaway“ society to one that practises sustainable consumer behaviour.
This concept not only describes the evolution of waste management in Freiburg, but also includes a number of specific measures, for instance relating to educating people about waste: Freiburg‘s partially privatised waste disposal company, Abfallwirtschaft und Stadtreinigung Freiburg GmbH (ASF), has therefore been working together with schools and institutions to run courses, organise guided tours, perform a „Theatre of Rubbish“ for primary school children and organise competitions like „Waste Not, Want Not“.
The way to waste avoidance
The city itself leads by example and uses about 80% recycled paper. Private events organisers, such as SC Freiburg, are also involved and have signed up to the „Ban on disposable drinks containers“, which has been in place since 1991, for events held on public land.
The waste disposal system offers further incentives to avoid generating waste: people can choose different sizes of waste bins and emptying intervals. People can also get together to form waste disposal communities and there are financial rewards for people who compost their own green waste or use textile baby nappies.
Treatment of non-recyclable waste
Since 2005, the region‘s non-recyclable waste, that is waste that cannot be avoided or recycled, is incinerated in the Thermal Non-recyclable Waste Treatment and Energy Generation Plant (TREA) in the Breisgau Industrial Park to the south of Freiburg. This waste incineration technology combines safety, efficiency and environmental compatibility in a modern way, generating energy and heat in the incineration process. In specific terms, the plant currently supplies around 28,000 households with electricity. Since the beginning of 2013, 8,000 MWh of heat per year have been diverted to an adjacent biomass centre, which produces pellets from waste wood that are burned in wood-fuelled power plants and also supplies 3,500 MWh of heat to a biogas plant.
Waste to energy – use of a former landfill site to generate energy
The former Eichelbuck landfill site has evolved into an energygenerating mountain: Freiburg‘s largest solar installation was erected there in 2011, with a total capacity of 2.5 megawatts peak (MWp), and therefore meets the annual electricity needs of around 1,000 households. And the landfill gas from the 50-metre high, former waste mountain is also used: mixed with biogas from the Reterrabiogas plant, it is supplied to a co-generation plant in the Landwasser district and is used to generate electricity and heat. In specific terms it supplies electricity for 3,300 households and also supplies 780 households with heat. An innovative wood gasifier co-generation plant was added to this plant in Landwasser at the start of 2014, increasing the share of renewables in the district, and tests are currently under way to assess the suitability of this prototype for everyday use.