Collection of food waste

In 2021, the Municipal Board has decided to introduce a system for separate separation and collection of food waste from households in Sollefteå municipality. The collection will be done with two bin containers starting in 2024. Below you will find answers to some questions you may have.

Why should food waste be sorted separately?

From 2024 onwards, it is a legal requirement that the municipality must offer collection of separated food waste. The background to this requirement is to contribute to resource conservation and closed cycles.

Digesting food waste produces biogas and bio-fertiliser. Returning nutrients to agricultural land via bio-fertilisers brings environmental benefits in terms of reduced extraction and use of mineral fertilisers.

Biogas for vehicles allows them to replace vehicles running on diesel or petrol. Digesting food waste instead of incinerating it is resource efficient.

Why does it take about 3 years to implement?

It takes so long to introduce food waste collection with all the preparation and procurement.

The municipality's contract for household waste collection expires in 2024-02-28. The technical department intends to procure a new contract for household waste collection in 2021/2022, which will include separate collection of food waste.

Economically advantageous

It is also the best option from an economic point of view to introduce the new service under a new contract for waste collection. Breaking or changing a contract involves costs.

The food waste will be digested in Härnösand

Only in 2020 it became clear that Hemab in Härnösand is expanding its biogas plant. This means that there will now be a treatment plant nearby. Before that, the nearest plant was in Skellefteå or Gävle.

How should food waste be collected?

The collection at villas will be done with two-part bins. One bin for food waste and one bin for residual waste (the rest of the garbage). The bin size is 240 litres, the food waste bin is 100 litres and the residual waste bin is 140 litres. The lid is a so-called butterfly lid, i.e. it is split lengthwise.

The bins are emptied by a refuse truck which has two separate compartments. Here you can see two films how it works:
Film 1 External link, opens in new window.
Film 2 External link, opens in new window.

Note that the hinge/middle of the lid goes against a partition that guides the two different fractions to the right compartment in the garbage truck.

In multi-family houses and businesses, brown bins for food waste will be placed in addition to the green bins for residual waste.

Food waste will be placed in special paper bags provided by the municipality.

Sorting will be compulsory for everyone. This means that people must either bring their food waste to the municipality for collection or compost it themselves in a registered and approved home composter.

Food waste is already collected mixed in the garbage, the difference will be that it will be collected as two separated fractions. The municipality has carried out a study which shows that this gives the best environmental result in terms of the overall environmental impact of waste management. There is also a legislative proposal that everyone, both private individuals and businesses, should sort out food waste.

Couldn't packaging and newspapers also be collected at the property?

As the legislation stands, the municipality is only responsible for collecting residual waste and food waste. It is the producers of packaging who are responsible for collecting packaging today, which they do at the unmanned recycling stations. However, in November 2021, a study was presented with a legislative proposal that the municipality should collect packaging (plastic, paper, metal and glass packaging) at the property. If this becomes a reality, the municipality will collect this by providing more two-part bins to each household. Exactly what this will look like is not clear as it is only a legislative proposal so far.

From 1 Jan 2022 it will be the responsibility of the municipality to collect newspapers, before that it was the responsibility of the producer. Here there is no requirement for collection at the property, so the municipality will continue to collect newspapers at recycling stations and recycling centres.

The cost of shipping food waste

Today, the waste, including food waste, is transported to Sundsvall for incineration. So we already have a cost for both incineration and transport.

With Hemab in Härnösand expanding its plant, the transport will be shorter (to Älandsbro) compared to Sundsvall.

The cost of digesting the food waste will not be higher than the incineration cost.

Will there be higher fees for homeowners?

The fee under the new system has not yet been decided, but preliminary calculations show that the annual fee for a homeowner will be between 10-25% higher.

What applies if you compost yourself or do not have food waste?

Sorting will be compulsory for everyone. This means that you must either deliver your food waste to the municipal collection point or compost it yourself in a registered and approved home composter. If you can prove that your home composter is approved, you will be able to keep your residual waste only bin.

However, the environmental benefits of digesting food waste are greater than composting it at home. Digestion also produces biogas, which can replace fossil fuels.

After all, most people have some food waste - potato peelings, banana skins and so on. And even if you compost at home, it can be convenient to take your food waste to your local authority for collection during the winter, when composting usually stops.

On average, about 30% of the waste collected by the municipality is food waste.