UBC Wheel
Good Practice Database

  • Home
  • Search
  • Browse
  • Tag cloud
  • View

Göteborg’s system of incinerating waste


Detailed description of the Good Practice

Göteborg’s system of incinerating waste to make electricity and heat is highly efficient. Benchmarked against other European countries, the system compares very favorably, generating 3.3 MWh per ton of waste for heating (27% of the city) and electricity, reducing landfill to a small fraction of the total waste collected, and cutting emissions by over 200,000 tCO2 annually. By generating energy from waste, 25% of the City’s CO2 emissions from energy consumption have been cut.
An integrated waste system that collects, sorts and burns Göteborg’s 345,000 tons of rubbish annually. The incinerated waste creates energy, which is used for heating and electricity. Waste is only removed by contractors if it has been separated for recycling, meaning 19% of total waste and 33% of household waste is recycled.

waste management
energy efficiency
climate change

Objectives of the Good Practice

to create a highly efficient new system of incineration to make electricity and heat

Participants of the Good Practice

company Renova

Funding of the Good Practice

company Renova

More Details of the Good Practice


Renova outperforms many other companies in Sweden, where similar levels of heating are generated but generally levels of electricity production are much smaller.

In Denmark, the share of heating is typically much smaller. Switzerland produces similar volumes of electricity but far less heat. In other countries, the focus is almost always on electricity or heat, rarely both – this is partly due to the Scandinavian need for secure heating supplies in winter.

Göteborg has achieved a reduction in the emission of harmful elements and chemicals in the incineration process. For example, from 1989 to 2006, the volume of waste incinerated almost doubled, yet the levels of mercury emitted in the burning process fell from 64kg per year to 2kg. As mentioned before, levels of dust and particulate matter also fell dramatically.

C02 emissions reductions

Waste-to-energy production saves the equivalent of 130,000 tonnes of oil per year. Against a hypothetical measure of energy produced through burning of oil, waste-to-energy production saved the city an estimated 205,060 tonnes CO2 in 2006 – a figure that appears to be consistent over the past six years.

Energy efficiency

The system used by Renova is highly efficient and has displayed incremental improvements over the past twenty years. In sum, these amount to huge energy efficiency savings, in which total energy produced from incineration has gone up six-fold in a period when volumes of waste incinerated have only doubled. Moreover, large volumes of waste have been diverted from landfill and recovered.

Available files

Data sources and references

C40 Cities - Climate Leadership Group
(Accessed June, 18, 2010)