RTCC 2013 Awards: sustainable waste management firm

Nominations for the inaugural RTCC Climate Change Awards, due to be presented at UNFCCC COP19 in Warsaw

RTCC 2013 Climate Change Awards: full nominations

Big Belly solar


Developed in Australia, South Korea, Japan, India, China, Columbia and Italy, TerraCycle is a global initiative that aims to promote more effective waste management. Currently rolled out in 21 countries across the world including the USA, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Israel, Turkey and many EU countries, any school, charity, individual, or business can sign up to the scheme for free to raise money for non-profit organisations by collecting over 60 different non-recyclable materials that would have been thrown away. For every piece of waste returned, the equivalent of two cents is donated to a school or non-profit of their choice.

The collected material is then recycled or upcycled into new products and building materials. Featured in the Sustania 100 2013, the company’s figures show that more than 2.5 billion pieces of waste collected and recycled have resulted in carbon savings of 40-80% carbon compared to traditional waste disposal options. Over 25 million students globally have engaged in TerraCycle’s recycling and environmental education programs, raising nearly $8 million for schools since 2008.

BigBelly Solar

US company BigBelly Solar provides real-time data from bins that compact waste themselves, allowing waste system managers to switch to more efficient rubbish collection schedules. Powered by by 100% renewable solar energy, the BigBelly bins help cut greenhouse gas emissions through fuel consumption by reducing wasted trips by rubbish collection trucks, which, according to Sustania, are some of the least fuel-efficient vehicles.

They have been deployed in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, UK, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, Monaco, Ireland and Belgium, and have been recognised as a C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group best practice and winner at the 2012 Smart City Expo Awards, one of SBANE’s 2013 Innovation Award Winners and a Gold Award Winner in the Waste Management category at the Value Chain Awards Gala. 

New Songdo City

The construction of this South Korean city has continued progress on a pioneering waste management system among other sustainable technologies ahead of the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, which will see an influx of visitors to the region. Songdo uses a pneumatic waste collection system, which sucks wet and dry rubbish straight to rubbish dumps through a network of pipes. This makes waste easier to dispose of and lowers vehicle emissions from rubbish trucks.

Songdo also has three water networks (freshwater, sewage, and treated “grey water,” which is used for irrigation and some toilet flushing) and every building is able to recycle a large portion of its own waste water internally. The city’s planners aim for Songdo to reuse 40% of its waste water and 76% of the waste created by residents and businesses. This is in addition to Songdo’s current residents using 40% less energy per person than an average city, because of the building insulation, high-tech lighting, heating, and air conditioning systems, according to city officials.


Petramas has avoided the release of over 2 million tons of CO2 since 2006 to the end of 2013, which is being accomplished thanks for its efficiency in landfill managements. This efficiency also reduced operative costs to the company, and as a consequence the cost per ton to local governments were also reduced by 70%.

The 6,000 tons of rubbish received daily by Petramas between its two landfills, Huaycoloro and Modelo Callao, represent about 74% from the total waste made in Lima. At both landfills CDM projects have been implemented, where biogas is produced from waste and it is recovered and used for electricity generation provided to the city, avoiding practices like waste burning, pollution of seas, rivers or the use of organic rubbish for pork feeding.

The future of waste management in Lima, with a population of 9 millions of people, is 70% secured thanks to the existence of Huaycoloro Landfill for a period of 200 years.

According to the World Bank, Petramas Huaycoloro Landfill is considered to be one of the best case studies in the world and its example must be followed in other countries from the developing world.


The French company’s biomimetic solution to water waste uses microalgae to generate clean energy and insulate buildings. Using photo-bioreactors placed on building roofs, Ennesys use waste water to stimulate microalgae growth, increasing biomass production which can be transformed to produce power, heat, or cooling – and the waste water is cleaned.

Ennesys were featured in Sustania’s 100 leading sustainable initiatives for this technology enabling cities to recycle organic waste and produce energy to meet local demand. With Ennesys claiming that 100% of wastewater from office or residential buildings can be recycled and generate 8 kWh of clean electricity, their technology is currently operating in France, Brazil, Israel, Chile and Morocco and as a low-cost solution it has been recognised as scalable to further settings.


TaKaDu’s software uses data from sensors to create alerts in a Web application about problems in water networks. According to the Israeli company, we currently lose between one quater and a third of the world’s water production through inefficiently managed systems. By better monitoring water networks and locating problems like leaks at an early stage, this technology helps water utilities increase their efficiency and save water from going to waste.

Named one of 2013’s leading sustainable firms by Sustania, this software is currently in use in Australia, UK, Spain, Portugal, Israel and Chile, and looks set to expand widely as it requires no capital expenditure or onsite installation.


Wongpanit seeks to solve the root causes of waste management problems by promoting the potential value in the items thrown away to people in Thailand and Malaysia.

Wongpanit makes sure recycling pays by buying over 220 items of recyclable waste from people, encouraging communities to reduce the amount they throw away and lessening the cost of waste collection and disposal for local authorities. Wongpanit also empowers communities to start their own recycling businesses by running training sessions, and was selected as a 2013 leader in education on sustainability by Sustania.

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