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These 6 solutions will improve biowaste separate collection in Tallinn

Updated: Jul 29, 2019


Tallinn urban challenge is city-driven approach to innovation. Estonia’s capital defined its problem: insufficient biowaste recycling due to poor separate collection on spot. The challenge was for startups, companies and scientists with a wise idea on how to improve biowaste separate collection. Helping hands with a plan for pilot project were welcomed from all across the world. Many of the presented ideas will be available soon in Tallinn.​

Today biowaste makes up at least 1/3 of municipal solid waste. Around 30% of biowaste is recycled in Tallinn. Biowaste could be valuable raw material, but this is underused according to present system. Unfortunately, there has been no simple way to inspire biowaste separate collection at homes and in food processing facilities (canteens, restaurants etc). Biowaste treatment is usually unpleasant, smelly and “yucky”.

The main reasons citizens bring out as obstacles in waste separate collection are lack of space for different bins in the kitchen and the long distances from the nearest biowaste container. Luckily, there are great solutions ready to be taken into your everyday habits - that was also the goal of Tallinn urban challenge project to create implementation plan for improving biowaste separate collection on spot.


Here are the 6 best solutions from 4 different countries:

EKOKAMU, Finland

Elina Voutilainen


Ekokamu is a vacuum biowaste container with an integrated air absorption system. It has 4 litre container and it is machine washable. Thanks to the oxygen-free vacuum, decomposing slows down. With Ekokamu you can say goodbye to smelly and ugly biowaste bags in your kitchen. Ekokamu keeps its contents dry and fresh. Just empty when full. Suitable even on kitchen table. It sure does look great and stylish! Website: https://ekokamu.com/en/


CRUSHER, Estonia

Karl–Josep Jakobson & Henri Daniel Ots

Spin-off team from Estonian University of Life Sciences. They provide collection system for food waste for catering industries. Alreayd available to be used in facilities with big amount biowaste generation (hospitals, schools, supermarkets, hotels, food production venues etc).

Crusher crushes food waste and mixes it with water. The formed semiliquid mass is stored in a tank and then collected with special tank truck to biogas production facility. Of course, biogas is produced out of this semiliquid food waste.

Crusher vision: service trucks and Tallinn bus transport will run on biogas made from food waste. As biowaste could be turned into valuable biogas, then the team slogan is: Don't waste waste! & Don't waste energy!


SORTÉR, Green Ideas Group AB, Norway

Geir Langeland & Torstein Johnsen

Green Ideas Group AB is specialized in developing, selling and marketing technical solutions for the environment regarding waste-management. Sortér™ has a solution for modern kitchens with the recycle bins in the drawer. They know a compact way how to fit all the different bins under your sink. The waste recycling solution is made for both 60 cm and 80 cm sizes of kitchen base cabinet. It for sure solves the problem not having enough space for separate bins.


Comfortable separate bins in the kitchen alone are not enough for biowaste recycling and valuation. Green Ideas Solution Group is working on every part of the biowaste cycle. And even more: Wastend™ services provides sorting the waste at source to generate new ecofriendly energy through pyrolysis technology. Furthermore, they have sea cleaning project and biofuel development to be used as jet fuel. Imagine the plane fueling itself from your waste!


Website: https://greenideasgroup.com/sorter-concept/


Maximizing biowaste collection through proper design and tools, Italy

Enzo Favoino

Enzo: “Waste is like water: it always flows the easiest way.”

Waste management system needs to be easy and comfortable. In Milan the biowaste separate collection rate is 60% thanks to proper tools for user friendliness.

They make source separation inside the kitchen easy, comfortable and clean. Every household gets:

  • Vented kitchen caddies to be kept at home underneath the kitchen sink for first, temporary storage of materials. Volume: 6-12 liters. Small and manageable.

  • Compostable bags (compliant with the EU standard EN 13432) that work as liners, ensure a comfortable management of materials, avoid dirt and any "yuck" effect. Bags are accepted and promoted by the Italian Composting Association (CIC) so as to maximize captures and avoid any use of traditional plastic bags.

  • Containers for final storage of food scraps within the property. These containers are buckets (40L) for households living in detached houses, so that they may be picked manually or wheelie bins for high-rise buildings (120/240L) so that one bin serves 10-20 families.

Collection frequency is twice a week to reduce odors and moisture. Bags/liners are important as an additional tool to make the system tidy and comfortable. The aim is to tackle food scraps with intensive and cheap collection rounds.


Picture: Separate waste collection bins in Milan

Website: http://www.amsa.it/separate_waste/milano.html


NUTRILOOP, Estonia

Ingrid Hermet

Nutriloop vision: nutrients from biowaste are used for restoring the soil and growing food in every community.

Any already existing biowaste bin can be used in Nutriloop system. The key is added effective microorganisms into the collection bin, that start fermentation process on spot. The result is smell free, convenient and environmentally friendly. They use carbon negative technologies: fermentation, (biocharing) + earthworms. Nutriloop's aim is to produce high value fertilizers that restore soil microbiology and aid chemical-free agriculture and gardening.

In addition, Nutriloop offers comfortable containers for biowaste collection in your kitchen, in restaurants and in your backyard.

Website: https://nutriloop.org/


FESTERA, Estonia

Joonatan Oras ja Madis Vodja

Many of us already know Festera biobox for indoor use. They have taken many steps further from that.

Website: https://festera.ee


Festera has plan for decentralized composting. They help to treat biowaste on spot in special out-door composters. Open compost piles in private house backyard might not be the best solution, when not treated correctly. Because without aeration or turning over, they might emit hydrogen sulphide and when not balanced, emit ammonia. Festera's new solution for on sport composting adds to, not replaces, centralized biowaste management.



When indoor composter uses heater, then outdoor composter has no heater. It is well insulated. As biological reactions create heat, then the composter is due to insulation keeps itself warm and is suitable for cold climate.

Backyard composters result in saving the fuel of garbage trucks and preventing biowaste from reaching landfills. Festera helps to fill the current biowaste management system gap at private houses and small apartment buildings, where separate biowaste bins are not obligatory by the general waste management system.

Festera's solution was chosen to have the highest potential by Tallinn City Government, Tallinn Waste Center, Ministry of the Environment, SEI Tallinn and Environment Agency. Festera composers will be tested in pilot project in 2019-2020.



Tallinn in figures:

  • 45% of waste is recycled

  • More than 50 000 tons of biowaste is generated in one year; up to 40 000 tons are kitchen waste

  • Only 30% of biowaste is collected separately

  • Average household generates around 130 kg of biowaste/year (2.5 kg in a week)

  • ca 3000 biowaste containers (total volume of 530 m3)

Photo gallery: Final event PHOTOS HERE


Read more about the project: https://www.cleantechforest.ee/tallinn-biowaste-challenge

Tallinn Urban Challenge on Biowaste is powered by:


#Education #cleantech #innovation

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