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Area by area, AF Bostäder is replacing all its waste stations with Underground Waste Systems (UWSs). Initially, it entails a considerable investment, but there are many benefits in the long term. Waste sorting increases, waste management becomes more cost-effective and above all the students get a living environment that is clean, tidy and secure.

Improving the living environment with underground recycling

Area by area, AF Bostäder is replacing all its waste stations with Underground Waste Systems (UWSs). Initially, it entails a considerable investment, but there are many benefits in the long term. Waste sorting increases, waste management becomes more cost-effective and above all the students get a living environment that is clean, tidy and secure.

The Underground Waste System (UWS) is a standard system used by the City of Lund among others. A UWS consists of a 3–5 cubic metre container that is concealed in a concrete caisson under the ground. The only thing visible above ground is a cleanly designed, letterbox-like opening. At each station there are eight or more containers with openings for glass, plastic, metal, newspapers, paper packaging, residual waste and food waste.

“Traditional waste stations often consist of container solutions that are bulky, fenced off and difficult to access, and can feel dark and unsafe,” says Peter Molin, building project manager at AF Bostäder. “That’s why we are gradually switching to UWSs in all our areas. In 2020, Ulrikedal and Delphi got a station, each with 14 UWSs. In 2021, we will set up the last station at Delphi and we will then have all of our 28 waste stations underground.”

AF Bostäder owns the on-site construction, while the municipality takes care of emptying and washing the facility. The system is flexible and has a range of advantages.

“Among other things, all the concrete caissons that house the different containers have the same dimensions, which means that the sorted categories can be moved around or changed to another type as time goes on, for example if the need for one sorted category proves to be greater than another in the future,” says Peter Molin.

“The old containers were collected by a container lorry, emptied at the municipal facility and then driven back – a noisy and lengthy process. The new UWSs are lifted up by a silent, electric-powered crane, emptied on a loading platform and then placed back in position immediately. This means less heavy transport in the area and also less littering, as the containers are always in place. Being placed underground also means that the containers are cooler, which reduces the risk of a bad smell.”

The new system helps to increase waste sorting and reduce residual waste. In addition, the UWSs enable a considerably more pleasant living environment for the students.

“By using the UWSs, we can create an open, clean and tidy environment connected with waste management,” says Peter Molin. “We also plan the switch to the new stations so that they are carried out in connection with a major revamp of the housing area, for a better overall result.”

“For example, Vildanden got its UWSs at the same time as new bike parking facilities, barbecue places with seating, new garden layout, better outdoor lighting and a boule court,” says Peter Molin. "And at Ulrikedal, the initiative is part of a larger rebuilding project in which the entire outdoor environment is being remade from scratch. There, we are also putting in a new garden layout, but also an outdoor gym and space for sunchairs.”

In a broader sustainability perspective, the new UWS stations are complemented by the Green Room, which is AF Bostäder’s new design for bulky waste stations.

“Students can hand in batteries, electronics, light sources and bulky furniture at the Green Room. There are also reuse shelves where the students can leave things that are clean and intact, and then take something home with them. The Green Room interior is light and pleasant with clear signage and is to inspire the students to minimise their waste, increase their recycling and try the reuse approach. In areas where it is possible, the Green Room is placed adjacent to the UWS station, so that everything is together in one and the same place,” says Peter Molin.


Latest update May 26, 2021
Peter Molin
Peter Molin
Building Project Manager
046-19 15 41

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