Postcards

Vacuum systems in the Augustemburg neighborhood

Copenhagen, Waste Collection

The Augustemborg neighborhood in Copenhagen was one of the first ones in the world to try this vacuum collection system for non-recycleable items. Waste collection trucks dont need to access every street of this neighborhood, instead they collect all waste in pump stations on the periphery.

Community Deposit Center

Community Deposit Centers


These building types are small centers for community reuse, recycling and composting. They also play an important role in community development and children education.

Photo by Trip Participant

Grabbing a load

Sweden, Waste Management

Sweden considers the issues of municipal waste management and energy management to be inextricably connected. It is simply put, illegal to landfill any combustible municipal waste. This has led to the construction of very clean and efficient waste to energy conversion plants, that produce both heat and electricty from this "free" fuel source. And the energy and area required to landfill is minimized to insignificant digits.

Seattle Fare Start

In Seattle, a very successful non-profit organization trains people that are facing "temporary homelessness" with skills in the food industry that allow them to get back on track. The program boasts a 90% job-placement record for its trainees. It has contracts with local restaurants to supply their prep-work, catering service, lunches every day and dinners once a week, generating considerable income for theprogram to be self-sustaining.

Dinner on Thursday opens to the public. A Guest Chef from a local restaurant leads the group in creating a seasonal delicacy. Industry leaders and corporate sponsors take turns to serve as waiters for that night, donating all tips to the program. Graduates from the program are acknowledged and some share their stories. Listening to those two minutes will help you understand why this program deserves to be replicated all across the world.

Curitiba Food Exchange

People line up to trade garbage and recylables for food. The program has a duel purpose: clean streets and nutrition for the poor.

Havana, Urban Agriculture

In Havana, urban farming started as a necessity. With the break up of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost 75% of its imports, including oil and its derivatives: fertilizers, agro products. With the Helmut Burns act, Cuba lost 85% of its exports, mainly sugar cane to the US. The lessons learned: Cannot depend on oil for food production, much less if its foreign, and the production must be diverse.
In 1993 people started growing food where they could out of necessity, roofs, terrraces, vacant lots. In 1995 the government realized this was a major force and it was worth channeling it as part of the system. Now, Havana is said to produce up to 60% of its internal production, all within a 5 km radius from the city center.

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Malmö, Waste to Energy

The Waste to Energy plant in Malmo accepts garbage from many municipalities. Electricity goes into the electrical grid; heat is distributed to homes and business through the district energy system.

Copenhagen Windenergy

The Middelgrunden wind farm in the Copenhagen harbor is located just 1 to 2 miles off the Copenhagen waterfront, and consists of 20 wind turbines at 2 MW each. It is 50 percent owned and financed by a wind co-op of 8,300 members and 50 percent owned by the local utility. Denmark is a leader in this technology, producing more than 20% of all its energy requirements through it.

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Energy Scorecard

The Energy Scorecard is part of the documentation of a building. The seller of the property has to disclose the effective energy consumption of the building when putting it for sale. The buyer has realistic data to support his decision. It is equivalent to the gas mileage sheet car buyers in the US can see when choosing a car.

Zoom in at the scorecard

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