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Food trash turned into biogas during sailing world championships

State of Green
By State of Green, August 03, 2018

Right now, one of the largest sports events ever in Denmark takes place in the bay of Aarhus, Denmark and sustainability is high on the agenda. During the championships, food trash and paper is collected and converted into green biogas. This is the result of a partnership between the energy company E.ON, the sustainability agency Worldperfect, The Tuborg Foundation and the organisers of the world championships.

At present, 1,400 sailors from more than 90 nations and thousands of sailing enthusiasts are gathered in the Danish city of Aarhus for the sailing world championships held from 30 July to 12 August. An estimated 400,000 spectators at Aarhus harbour put demands on the waste management at the event.

”All large sports events are challenged by the amount of waste. We have a clear ambition to be as sustainable as possible, and the partnership with E.ON will help us take it one step further. Not only do we clean up after all the spectators; we collect the food trash and transport it to one of E.ON’s biogas plants where it is turned into green energy,” said Klaus Natorp, Head of event at the sailing world championships. He also points out that all sailors have a waste separation bag ensuring that also their food scraps and waste is collected at sea.

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The biogas from the food trash goes into the championships’ overall energy accounts, which must go to zero. In order to reach this goal, the championships get their power from E.ON’s Danish wind turbines.

E.ON expects to gather 10-12 tons of food trash and paper waste during the championships, coming from the many food stalls and kitchens that work to satisfy the 400,000 spectators and sailors. The waste is then sorted and transported to the town of Vojens, where the largest biogas in the Nordic countries is located. Here, the biogas is distributed to the natual gas system, where it will typically replace natural gas or diesel in transport.

”We try to drive the transition through strong partnerships. Therefore, we are very pleased that – as energy and sustainability partner during the sailing world championships – we can help to tap the energy from the large amounts of waste while at the same time assisting the organisers reaching their green targets,” explained Tore Harritshøj, CEO at E.ON.

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The sustainability agency Worldperfect is responsible for the sustainable waste management at the event, where spectators are actively involved in the waste sorting and the energy accounts that include the food trash.

”We are pleased to manage the total sustainability program at the world championships together with E.ON. In cooperation, we ensure that food trash, a tricky type of waste, is collected and recycled instead of incinerating it. At the same time, it is a good and involving way to communicate sustainability to spectators because when you take part in sorting your waste, you are part of the good story,” said Rasmus Hørsted Jensen, partner at Worldperfect.

Find more information about the sustainable initiatives at the sailing world championships here.

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