As part of Nordic Ports for a Sustainable Future, Port Esbjerg, one of Denmark’s largest commercial ports, wants to lead the field in improved maritime sustainability. With 6000 vessels docking every year and 4,5 million tons of cargo handled, the port authorities faced the elaborate task of providing a more sustainable waste sorting system. EGGS was invited on board to help design the best possible solution.
Designing an award-nominated waste sorting system
Port Esbjerg had long experienced difficulties with waste being incorrectly sorted according to regulations, leading to squandered working hours, poor working conditions and unnecessary pollution. Previous solutions had all failed. In collaboration with the port authorities, EGGS led the innovation process of creating a new holistic waste sorting system that’s currently being tested by the port, and which we are proud to announce is nominated for the Danish Ports Sustainability Award.
Gaining a clearer understanding
To get to the root of the problem, we interviewed staff at the docks, recycling station and incinerator while also observing and documenting their work processes. The most significant insights came to light when talking to the ships’ captains and crews. We learnt that the port authority’s assumption that most waste issues occurred on vessels was inaccurate.
Incompatible ship and on-land waste systems
The ships’ crews proudly showed us their waste sorting systems and how they meticulously divided everything into seven categories, in keeping with MARPOL (The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships). They expressed their frustrations over spending time and energy organizing their waste while at sea, only to be met by an inadequate waste management system on reaching Port Esbjerg, where there were just two types of poorly labelled containers.
Complying with MARPOL
By tracing the journey of waste from beginning to end and acknowledging the experiences of all personnel involved, we could map everything out and present a clear implementation strategy based on the MARPOL convention.
Avoiding wasting money
When entering into the project initially, we discovered that Port Esbjerg had already begun developing what was in our minds an unnecessarily complex and expensive waste management solution. Once the port learnt that it wasn't adequately addressing the real underlying problems and that there was a more straightforward and cost-effective method, it swiftly vetoed its original plan and redirected its resources accordingly.
Becoming a leader in maritime sustainability
Port Esbjerg is currently testing its new system of visually distinct waste sorting containers and supporting app. Both of which follow the same sorting principles used onboard ships. This holistic approach to waste sorting helps consolidate the port’s vision of becoming a leader in maritime sustainability, and as we said, has led to it getting nominated for the Danish Ports Sustainability Award. Fingers crossed!
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