11 Mar, 2023 @ 15:45
1 min read

Retired Swedish inventor sets his sights on improving garbage handling and cutting CO2 in Barcelona

A new garbage system for Barcelona

AS THOUSANDS of Europeans do every year, Jan Arlemark has recently moved to Spain in his retirement. But the former inventor will not be sitting on his hands. 

Having witnessed both traffic congestion and overflowing garbage containers in the city of Barcelona, he has joined a small innovation centre called Accacio to start designing a new and improved garbage-handling system for urban environments. 

The result, he explains, is an ‘intelligent system’ that guides garbage truck drivers only to the containers that need to be emptied. This can reduce the distance travelled by up to 50%, making it simpler and more efficient. 

What’s more, the containers in his system are equipped with a ‘solar-powered disinfection system’, which eliminates bad smells and stops bacteria from spreading. 

‘This added feature makes the garbage-handling system much more hygienic and environmentally friendly,’ he adds. 

Arlemark had previous experience in disinfection technology, which he has combined with this AI system for the garbage collection itself. 

‘I have drawn up my visions as a map for the future handling of our garbage,’ says Arlemark. ‘My hope is to find an investor and a municipality to prove my statements.’

The system could, of course, have a major knock-on effect on CO2 emissions thanks to fewer journeys made by garbage trucks. A simulation he carried out in one of Barcelona’s 12 districts showed savings on fuel and personnel thanks to the system. 

The inventor has already filed a patent application for his system and will be present at the EU Startups Summit in Barcelona, which will take place from April 20 to 21, to present the project to potential investors.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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