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Úrgangur

Every time a product is produced, new energy, time, money, and raw materials have been extracted from one of the earth's limited resources. Therefore, it is fundamental in rationalizing resources that each product has a long lifespan or is utilized well. Consumerism and waste are some of the most significant environmental problems on earth. To continue to use our resources, it is essential to create cycles where the product that has been used does not go to landfills but is sorted and recycled in some way.

For a while, all household waste in Akureyri was placed in a landfill in Glerárdalur. It did not matter if it was a banana peel or a sofa; everything was dumped into the same hole.

In recent years and decades, sorting and recycling have increased significantly as knowledge of landfill hazards increases and recycling technology advances. In 2010, the landfill in Glerárdalur was formally closed, and it is now forbidden to dump rubbish in the area.

Recycling in Akureyri

 

Sorting in Akureyri has been a journey; it has been a long time since people started collecting clothes in collection containers and sorting from the wood thrown away. Great emphasis is now placed on sorting waste from companies and households, and eleven local sorting stations have been established. The stations contain containers for newspapers/magazines, corrugated cardboard, plain cardboard, drinking squares and plastic packaging, baskets under metals and glass, a storage box for batteries, and a container for leftover candles and cooking oil.

There are no bins for organic waste at nearby stations, but all homes in Akureyri should have a trash bin with a compartment for organic waste, and the green bin for organic waste is inside every home.

Significant waste management was introduced by Molta EHF., which receives organic waste and turns it into compost. Today, about 80% of all organic waste in North Iceland is turned into compost. Therefore, there has been significant progress in sorting in recent years, but the aim is for all waste generated in the area to go into some cycle.

By sorting and promoting a product into a recycling system, we turn waste into a product. However, the key to successful recycling is that the process is cost-effective and that the public and companies contribute to recycling and sorting of waste generated.

 

The  recycling guide on the Akureyri website

 

                                                               

Organic waste is generated in various places and can be utilized differently.

The residents of Akureyri collect organic waste in The Green Basket, and then there is a special compartment in the trash bin for the organic waste that is picked up by

a garbage truck. The organic waste is also collected from companies, schools, and industry as raw material in composting at Molta EHF. Timber also goes there, and the paper that has been sorted in local containers in Akureyri.

NO BIOPLASTIC (EXCEPT THE BAG IN WHICH THE ORGANIC WASTE IS IN) SHOULD GO IN THE GREEN BASKET.

ALL DEGRADABLE BIOPLASTIC SHOULD GO TO GENERAL WASTE - MORE INFORMATION UNDER THE BIOPLASTIC TAB.

IF A ROLL OF GREEN BAGS IS NO LONGER USEABLE, DO NOT PUT IT IN THE GREEN BASKET, IT SHOULD GO TO GENERAL GARBAGE.

The Green Funnel is another way where residents can sort organic waste. It is used to collect used cooking oil from households,

then transported with oil from industry and restaurants to produce biodiesel at Orkey EHF.

Organic waste can also be used to produce other materials like glycerol, methane, hydrogen, ethanol, and methanol. 

Molta EHF. is a composting plant at Þveráreyrun 1a in Eyjarfjörður. The plant was formally opened in August 2009, and almost 3,000 tonnes of waste were processed that year. Since then, the plant's production capacity has increased significantly, and Molta now processes about 6-8,000 tonnes of organic waste annually.

The raw material (organic waste) that comes to Molta EHF. is collected from meat processing and slaughterhouses, a little from fish processing, homes (The Green Basket), and companies.

What can go in The Green Basket:

Once this organic waste has gone through a specific production process, it becomes a compost that is an organic fertilizer and soil improver. Kraftmolta is different from topsoil in that it does not contain any inorganic substances (e.g., sand) as the soil does. Krafmolta contains much more nutrients than the soil and can therefore be called a fertilizer or soil improver but cannot wholly replace fertilizer.

More information on compost production can be found on the website MOLTA EHF.

The following projects in land reclamation, forestry, or other cultivation have used mulch to achieve better results.

Hólasandur

Skógræktin, Landgræðslan, and Molta EHF. have since 2015 been experimenting with the utilization of compost for tree cultivation and revegetation of the bare sand on Hólasandur north of Mývatnssveit. It has been found that there is a significant benefit to the compost in such conditions. However, work is still being done to develop methods for transporting and distributing the compost to achieve the best results in terms of cost. The Ministry of the Environment is financially supporting the project, which will be used, among other things, to transport the compost from Eyjafjörður east to Hólasandur, where it will be distributed. Plants have been planted in parts of this area, and experiments have been carried out with nitrogen-fixing plants, such as white clover, bean grass, and more.

 

Moltulundur

One of the planned projects in forestry and land reclamation around Akureyri is to lay the foundation for Moltulundur around the ski area in Hlíðarfjall. There will be an experiment for arboriculture and land reclamation in a sparse area over 500 meters.

 

The Green Scarf

135 ha of woodland has been planned on about 700 ha of land for outdoor activities by the Green Scarf, which the town of Akureyri has defined at the upper town limits. Work has begun on area preparation, planting, fencing, and mulch distribution. It is estimated that it will be possible to utilize about 1,800 m³ of compost in Glerárdalur in connection with this project.

 

Compost for the townspeople

 

Residents of Akureyri can now pick up mulch free of charge at two locations in the town: at Krókeyri south of the Motorcycle Museum and the incinerator south of the container area in Réttarhvammur.

There are two types of mulch:

Kraftmolta is a high-quality soil improver made from organic raw materials from homes and slaughterhouses. This mulch can be used on lawns both as fertilizer on top and for sowing in flower beds and tree and shrub beds. It is not desirable to use kraft compost in vegetable gardens.

Vegetation compost is a high-quality compost made from plant and grass residues. This compost is suitable for general gardening and vegetable gardens as a soil improver and nutrient source. It is desirable to mix the compost with soil or sand and spread it on the ground.

 

The Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden in Akureyri uses mulch in all the beds in the garden.

One of the reasons is that weeds do not manage to grow in clean manure.

 

Jaðar Golf Course

Jaðar Golf Course, located in Akureyri, has used mulch in recent years to replenish and maintain the course's lawns. The utilization of mulch has yielded promising results, especially in grass growth.

 

 

There are two types of mulch:

Vegetable compost is a high-quality compost made from plant and grass residues. This compost is suitable for general gardening and vegetable gardens as a soil improver and nutrient source. It is desirable to mix the compost with soil or sand and spread it on the ground.

Kraftmolta is a high-quality soil improver made from organic raw materials from homes and slaughterhouses. This mulch can be used on lawns both as fertilizer on top and for sowing in flower beds and tree and shrub beds. It is not desirable to use kraft pulp in vegetable gardens.

 Kraftmolta is 100% compost made from organic household waste and slaughter waste.

It is suitable for golf courses, gardens, forestry, and other crops where strong fertilizers are needed.

Be careful not to use mulch only as it may be too strong a fertilizer for the roots of plants.

Do not use compost in vegetable growing or grazing animals.

Residents of Akureyri can now pick up mulch free of charge at two locations in the town: at Krókeyri south of the Motorcycle Museum and the incinerator south of the container area in Réttarhvammur.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable compost is 100% Icelandic compost made from plant and grass residues.

It is suitable for general gardening and vegetable gardens as a soil improver and nutrient source.

It is desirable to mix it with soil or spread it on top.

Residents of Akureyri can now pick up mulch free of charge at two locations in the town: at Krókeyri south of the Motorcycle Museum and the incinerator south of the container area in Réttarhvammur.

 

Chemical content of Kraftmolta

 

Nitrogen (N) - 20-35 g / kg of dry matter

 

Phosphorus (P) averages 6.1 g / kg dry matter.

 

Potassium (K) averages 4.2 g / kg of dry matter.

 

Calcium (Ca) averages 20 g / kg dry matter

 

Magnesium (Mg) averages 1.2 g / kg of dry matter.

 

Sodium (Na) averages 3.5 g / kg of dry matter.

 

 Chemical content of Gróðurmolta

 

Nitrogen (N) - total amount between 11 - 15 g / kg of dry matter

 

Phosphorus (P) averages 6.1 g / kg dry matter.

 

Potassium (K) averages 4.2 g / kg of dry matter.

 

Calcium (Ca) averages 20 g / kg of dry matter

 

Magnesium (Mg) averages 1.2 g / kg of dry matter.

 

Sodium (Na) averages 3.5 g / kg dry matter

 

 

Bioplastic is a synonym for plastics originating in biobased plastics and includes biodegradable plastics forming in petroleum.

This can be confusing as bioplastics can be both biodegradable and non-biodegradable, as well as being of organic and petroleum origin.

Bioplastics are therefore not all sorted and recycled in the same way:

Bioplastic that is of organic origin but is not biodegradable (Bio-PE, bio-PET, and bio-PP) should be classified as conventional plastic.

Bioplastic that is of organic origin and is biodegradable (Sterkjublöndur, PLA, PHA, PHB) Is marketed as biodegradable. Still, its decomposition only occurs under certain conditions, and those conditions do not exist in the composting plant Molta EHF.

In Akureyri, therefore, this packaging should be handled with general waste.

Bioplastic made from petroleum but biodegradable (PCL, PBS, PBAT) should be sorted with general waste, not conventional plastic.

The picture below shows the main types of bioplastics and conventional plastics, their origin, and how / if they decompose.

 

EUROPEAN BIOPLASTICS

Recycling plastic is inefficient, and the efficiency depends on the composition of the plastic, but plastic is classified into seven main categories.

The packaging plastic sorted in local containers in Akureyri is transported to the reception point, bagged, and then sent for further sorting to Sweden. What cannot be recycled due to the composition of the material is burned for energy efficiency in that country.

Pure North Recycling is a company in Hveragerði, Iceland, that recycles plastic with renewable energy sources, mainly geothermal energy. The company accepts certain types of plastic, such as hay roll plastic and hard plastic. The used plastic is then cleaned and processed, and the product from which it is made is plastic beads that can then be used to produce new plastic products. The goal of recycling is for plastic to return to plastic and for complete processing to leave as little or no carbon footprint as possible, but no chemicals are used in the processing.

Pure Noth Recycling recycles most hay roll plastic in Iceland or about 2000 tons per year. Pure North Recycling is taking its first steps in recycling hard plastic and aims to recycle packaging plastic, as 95% of unprocessed packaging plastic is exported. Therefore, there is much to gain, but it is estimated that for every tonne recycled from plastic, 1.8 tonnes of oil are saved.

The sorting of paper can be divided into three:

1. Corrugated cardboard: These are, e.g., cardboard boxes, pizza boxes, cardboards on pallets, and various types of protective packaging. The cardboard sorted at Akureyri's sorting stations is disposed of at Terra's reception center in Réttarhvammur. It is pressed into large bales and transported directly from Akureyri to the Netherlands for recycling.

 

2. Newspapers and magazines: E.g., newspapers, magazines, brochures, envelopes, office paper, and gift wrap that does not have glitter or metal/skin. The paper from the sorting stations of Akureyri is used as an admixture in the composting at Molta. What is not used in compost production is exported to the Netherlands and sold there on the market.

 

3. Drinking cartons and plain paper: Packaging from, e.g., dairy products, fruit juices, cereals, and biscuits. The cartons and cardboard packaging sorted at the sorting stations in Akureyri are unloaded at a reception center and bagged for export. The bales are transported directly from Akureyri to the Netherlands. (Christmas and gift wrap with glitter and metal finish cannot be recycled and must be disposed of in general rubbish, which will then be put into landfill.)

Metals are valuable raw materials that can be recycled many times without reducing their value.

This material is scarce globally and should not be treated as unsorted waste.

What are classified as metals are cans, aluminum foil, glass jar lids, wire hammers, staples, and aluminum cubs for tealights.

To be able to produce 1 ton of aluminum, you would need at least four tons of bauxite, 100 kg of 50% baking soda, 400 kg of carbon, 15,000 Kwst of electricity, 100 kg of calcium, 20 kg of aluminum fluoride, and up to 10,000 liters of water. In addition, 2 tonnes of hazardous red waste sludge are produced during bauxite production. Then there are the emissions from the smelters, which contain 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide and some fluoride, sulfur oxide, dust, etc.

For every kilogram of aluminum recycled instead of landfilled, CO2 emissions are reduced by 9 kg.

Only 5% of the energy is used to produce the same amount of new aluminum for recycled aluminum. The bauxite, baking soda, and a large part of the water are also saved. In addition, CO2 emissions from the production of recycled aluminum are significantly lower. Recycled aluminum has the same properties and is as good as new aluminum. Therefore, sorting all the aluminum waste and returning it for recycling is essential.

The metals sorted in Akureyri are sent to the metal processing companies - Fura or Hringrás. Those companies export the metals from the country where they are smelted or recycled.

It is important to sort all glass and never put it in with the general waste as it can break and cause accidents.

 
What is sorted as glass is broken and damaged dishes, glass jars (lids should be sorted with metal), flowerpots,  glasses, glass bottles, perfume bottles, and mirrors.
 
Light bulbs are not sorted as glass but as hazardous waste and therefore do not belong in this recycling category.

 

 All glass sorted in the Eyjarfjörður area is discharged to Skútaberg and crushed.

 
The glass crumbs can then be used as filler material during construction.

 

Unsorted waste is landfilled

It is most expensive to return unsorted waste, both for the wallet and the environment. There is very little that cannot be sorted, and it is possible to avoid having a lot of unsorted material by choosing a better option and thus avoiding the products that cannot be recycled.

The household waste that cannot be sorted today is nappies, sanitary napkins, cotton balls, wet wipes, pet waste, wipes such as Tork, toothpaste, and other tubes unless they are very well cleaned, vacuum cleaner bags, and cigarette butts.

More environmentally friendly option for unsorted household waste

Diapers cannot be recycled and also contain many unwanted substances. You can buy cloth diapers, but they are better for the environment and the wallet.

Tampons and sanitary pads, like diapers, are not recyclable and contain many unwanted substances. You can choose more environmentally friendly products for your menstrual periods, such as reusable menstrual pads and The Menstrual Cup, available in all pharmacies. Period Underwear has become more popular, and period swimwear, leotards, and athletic shorts.

Toothpaste - You can choose toothpaste tablets in more environmentally friendly packaging than a plastic tube, e.g., aluminum trays that can be refilled.

Home cleaning products such as hair soap, conditioner, detergent, dishwashing liquid, and cleaning spray can be purchased in reusable packaging that can be bought repeatedly in refills. You can also use spray cans again and buy detergent tablets that dissolve in water instead of buying a new spray can with cleaning fluid in it. About 90% of the cleaning liquid in the spray cans is imported water.

 

All unsorted waste generated in Akureyri is loaded into efficient transport units and transported to Stekkjarvík in Húnavatnssýsla, where it is landfilled.