Circular economy

All household waste in Malmö is collected and 98 percent of the waste is reused or recycled into new material or energy. Energy production from waste are primarily biogas or incinerated in the waste-to-energy facility.


Organic and food waste

In Malmö it is mandatory to sort food waste for all households. From year 2014 all citizens in Malmö are recycling their food waste through waste grinders, vacuum systems or paper bags in garbage bins. The food waste is collected to produce biogas which is used to fuel the city buses, garbage trucks, taxis and cars.

Malmö´s entire bus fleet is engineered to run on gaseous energy sources. Approximately 200 city buses run on a mix of biogas and CNG. As the production of biogas increases, an even larger percent of Malmö city buses will run on biogas which reduces greenhouse gas emissions, NOx emissions and particles.

A city built on district heating

District heating in Malmö is already well-incorporated, initiated in the city in 1959, and today it is one of Sweden´s largest district heating networks.  Simultaneously, much of Malmö´s heat energy is provided by so-called ‘waste´ sources.  Approximately 60 percent of Malmö´s heat energy is produced by the city incinerator via waste-to-energy and 16 percent of the district heating is provided by excess heat release from major industrial activities in the city.


Recycling in Malmö

Waste separation and recycling are commonly practiced amongst Malmö residents, as part of modern urban lifestyle behaviours. To help facilitate this behavioural trend weather-proof complexes have been constructed. Each ”miljöhus” has separate containers clearly labelled, often with visual images, to recycle food waste, glass, newspaper and paper, cardboard, metal, plastic and batteries, as well as to accommodate the remaining waste.

Siptex – unique sorting system for textile in Malmö

Every year, 4.3 million tonnes of textile waste are landfilled or incinerated in the EU. More than 140000 tonnes of new textiles are put on the Swedish market, but only just under five percent are recycled as material. The company Sysav is working with a link made between textile collection and high-quality recycling. Learn more about Siptex.

Going beyond the products

The City of Malmö is one of Sweden’s biggest public purchasers. Through smart procurement, the city has been able to contribute to sustainable development and support circular thinking. Here are three examples:

Raising the bar for sustainable IT products

The City of Malmö used to buy IT products from a supplier with generic sustainability labeling but old devices often ended up in people’s drawers, instead of being recycled. However, this changed in year 2018 when the City of Malmö procured a strategic partner for supplying IT products.

This shift helped put pressure on manufacturers to develop products with higher sustainability standards. In addition to requirements on power consumption, eco-labeling, and recyclability, the new procurement rules require longer warranty periods, incentivizing product repair. The agreement also includes services for repairing and recycling products. One result of the partnership is the yearly return of IT units for recycling has increased dramatically. Before the agreement was put in place, around 5000 units were returned annually; today that number has increased to almost 13000.

City of Malmö has also been active in a joint statement for fair and circular smartphones.

Extending the life cycle of furniture

With a traditional framework agreement for furniture, a lot of furniture gets thrown away – not even recycled – when an office moves, or when a chair gets stained. To address this challenge, the City of Malmö has been working on incorporating circular criteria in two different furniture framework agreements.

One framework agreement focuses on purchasing secondhand furniture as well as services to prolong the life of furniture. The second framework agreement includes newly produced furniture extending over several user areas within the municipality, and have many circular aspects included, such as circular design and high quality.

Shifting towards circular sign management

Signs are often thrown away because a business moves or changes name. The materials used in many signs also have a negative impact on nature. Aluminum requires energy-intensive refinement methods, and most plastics are produced using fossil fuels. The generated waste is also difficult to handle because it contains electronics.

In year 2021, the City of Malmö implemented requirements for eco-friendly materials and circular handling of materials when it finalized a procurement of signs. The requirements call for reuse within the organization, reuse within the supplier’s organization, and recycling of materials.

Going beyond the products

In addition to several environmental requirements in procurements, the City of Malmö also urges suppliers to be sustainable in other aspects. Therefore, social, and economic requirements are also used. For example, working conditions among suppliers are audited. The experience of the City has also shown that tougher social and environmental requirements don’t always make products more expensive. In order to encourage sustainable procurement further, the City of Malmö has sustainability coordinators that facilitate sustainable procurement.

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