We had the opportunity to visit the HVC (Huisvuilcentrale, which means household waste facility) in Alkmaar, Netherlands, on the third of October. The HVC is a leading waste management and recycling company in the region, known for its commitment to sustainable waste management practices and environmental responsibility. This report aims to provide an overview of our visit and the insights gained during my time at the HVC facility. HVC is a renewable energy and waste company of 51 municipalities and 8 water boards, it was established in 1991 by Nort Holland municipalities due to acute environmental problems. They support their shareholders in the ‘Van gas los’ (stepping away from gas) transition and in making waste management sustainable. In total they are providing 550.000 households of green energy.
They are known for generating renewable energy from the sun, wind, geothermal energy, biodegradable waste and non-reusable waste wood. HVC collects household waste separately, and then sorts and processes the waste. They process sludge and extract energy and valuable materials from the sludge.
This way, we are taking steps together towards a circular economy and renewable energy supply.
The HVC facility in Alkmaar plays a crucial role in waste management and recycling in the region. It is a modern and technologically advanced complex designed to handle various types of waste, including household waste, commercial waste, and recyclable materials. During our visit to the HVC facility in Alkmaar, we had the opportunity to tour the entire complex and witness the waste management processes firsthand.
We put on our helmets, our safety jackets and joined the installation of HVC in Alkmaar. We wandered through long corridors, stairwells and small passages from one world to another with a tour. From the world of stuff to the freshness of green energy sources to the underwater world of the ocean. Gazing into the depths of the bunker or feeling the warmth of the pipes above us. During this journey we found answers to how we can take steps towards a clean world.
When we first arrived, we saw a lot of trucks filled with trash on their way to the HVC facility in Alkmaar later that afternoon we witnessed the automated sorting process, where conveyor belts and machinery efficiently separated different types of waste. This system significantly reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills. The most fascinating thing we found was the energy recovery plant.
HVC has invested in advanced technology to convert waste into energy. This sustainable energy source benefits both the facility and the local community.
The recycling center, which handles materials like plastics, paper, and glass. The facility is equipped with modern equipment to process and prepare these materials for recycling. It was all-in all very impressive to experience. The pile of garbage looked like a landslide.
HVC’s commitment to sustainability was evident throughout the facility. I learned about their efforts to minimize environmental impact and promote recycling among the local population.
One of the most significant takeaways from our visit was the substantial positive impact HVC has on the environment and the local community. By diverting waste from landfills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and contributing to the local energy supply, HVC is playing a crucial role in promoting a cleaner and more sustainable future.
Our visit to the HVC facility in Alkmaar was both informative and eye-opening. The facility’s commitment to sustainable waste management practices and environmental responsibility is commendable. HVC’s dedication to reducing waste, promoting recycling, and generating clean energy serves as a model for responsible waste management that other regions should emulate.
My visit to the HVC facility in Alkmaar was both informative and eye-opening. The facility’s commitment to sustainable waste management practices and environmental responsibility is commendable. HVC’s dedication to reducing waste, promoting recycling, and generating clean energy serves as a model for responsible waste management that other regions should emulate.
We would like to extend my gratitude to the HVC team for their hospitality and for providing valuable insights into their operations. The experience has reinforced the importance of sustainable waste management practices in preserving our environment and building a more sustainable future.
On the fifth of oktober 2023 we visited the Technical University of Delft. When we arrived, we started with a short presentation about the university, and the city of Delft. The campus of the university is very big, it has several places such as a library, a pool and a gym. There are a lot of different activities to be had on the campus. The lessons are also in a lot of different buildings and sometimes in different cities because the schools work together. They have also built a green village where they test different innovations for a better climate and living space. They continued talking about the school itself. They talked about the different majors that could be taken there like design, engineering and Science. To get into these classes you have to have taken some subjects in school like physics and mathematics. Some of the majors are also held at multiple universities. With all the majors it takes three years to get a bachelor’s, after that you have to study for two more years to get a master’s degree. They continued by explaining to us about the city of Delft and student life. Delft is not a very big city, so everyone feels connected to each other and it feels like a community.
After the presentation we walked to the Green Village. In the Green Village you can find a lot of different projects. These projects are being tested to be eco-friendly, in the hope that one day they can be applied to our everyday life. All of these projects are made with the collaboration of the students at the university. The projects vary a lot. Some are made to be energy-friendly; others are made to save water and there are a bunch of other purposes. One of these projects is a machine that uses hydrogen to produce energy, another was a special tile which can be used to charge an e-bike without cables and the most peculiar project was a wall made of bricks that consisted of cow-dung. The most impressive project in the village is the Dreamhûs. It’s a street of three houses that are completely sustainable. All the energy comes from solar panels and the rainwater is re-used in the house itself.
After a small tour we had to do an exercise in couples. We had to select a few projects and we had to find a way to implement these in our school. We also had to add all these ideas to the ground plan of the school to see where they would fit. We also had lunch during the exercise. After we had done all this, we had to give an elevator-pitch where we would explain one of our ideas in a few sentences. We also had to use the ground plan we made to show our ideas.
Some of those ideas were windows that would get darker if there is more sun to keep the warmth, a new ventilation system that keeps the warmth inside the building and pot for plants that stores rainwater so that the plants still get water on a dry day. After all of this we went back to the building.
After we visited the green village, we walked back to the classroom in the building where we started. We walked through the campus a bit and there were people everywhere building and inventing stuff. We sat down and the students that guided us gave a presentation about sustainable building. They talked about Trias Energetica. It has three points: limit the energy usage, use sustainable resources and limit the use of fossil fuels. If you do all three you will have a sustainable house and it doesn’t have to be expensive. They had a little quiz about which house is more sustainable and we learned that the environment a building is in has a big influence on which is sustainable. For example, a building made of wood is good in a warmer climate because it keeps inside the cold air because it is a good isolating material instead in a cold environment is better a house build with concreate because it is a better isolating material so it keep the warm air inside and there is no need of heat system. Then they told us to make our own sustainable houses and try to get the highest energy label which shows how high the savings are compared to the price of them. We had many options to choose from: heat pump, solar panels, solar collector, green garden on the roof, cellulose isolating, double or triple isolating glass on the windows and some others. We split in duos with our Italian or Dutch partner and built our own houses with the materials we had chosen between all the choices. Then we decorated the houses with some playcorn, colorful paper, glue, glitter, tinfoil.
After half an hour we presented our houses to the others explaining all the materials we decided to use and also our calculations for the prices and saving of electricity. Using those calculations, we got the energy label. If your savings were around 10% of the price you got the highest energy label which is an A. There were two groups who didn’t even make the scale by getting only around 7%. After that we were allowed to take our houses home by train and bus.
It was a very informative day at the Technical University. The Green Village was very useful with ideas we can apply to our own school. We have learned to dream big and think outside of the box. The workshop helped us with taking practical stuff like the cost into account with the possible solutions. All in all, the day helped us a lot.
THE FIRST DAY
First, we had the presentations about our schools participating in the eco schools, it was very interesting and inspiring. It definitely inspired us to be better people! After that we had ice breaking games we played, that was fun! We played ‘koekenhappen’ and ‘eierlopen’ but with tangerine. We had a break and we gave the Italians a tour of the school.
We then started the lecture by Miranda Oedzes, she is a specialized coach in communication.
She presented us the program:
- Intro: one world
- Action: Eco Scan
The first topic was about the earth, we saw a video called His epic massage will make you want save the world, it was very inspiring and it made us think. We tackled different topic, such as the global warming, the extinction of animals, and the problem with storms. Then we saw the global goals of the Agenda 2030, and we reflected on some points.
The second topic was the Mentimeter, we had to scan a QR code with our phone to do a brainstorming and a poll on what we already know about climate. The questions were, for example, “Do you talk about sustainability?, What are you already doing? ( separating waste, limit water use, think about electricity consumption, biological food, think about sustainability when you buy clothes, something else), What can be still done at school?”
The third topic was talking about the main topics, that were waste-nature-energy.
We have discussed each point:
The negative effect on milieu, the problem with water+land+animals, the waste processing, the problem with packaging (pastic vs paper). We have reached a solution , finding it in the circular economy.
We talked about polluted nature, the issue of less nature and how the biodiversity is disturbed.
The last point was the energy, this ih the topic on which we have done the Eco-Scan. We tackled these points: why the fossil fuel is bad, the problem of fossil that has run out and the use of too much energy.
We saw some solution that some schools have already adopted, for example the solar-panels charger.
At this point we talked about Eco schools and how we have to act in the next year.
The plan is:
- ECO TEAM
- ECO SCAN
- ACTION PLAN
- ECO CODE
Since we have already done the Eco Team, we went on with the Eco scan. We divided into 3 groups and each of us tackled one of the main topics, waste-nature-energy.
We had to do the scan for the energy, we had to rate 29 questions about how the energy in managed within the school. Then, all together, we made an esteem of the datas, and we reflected on them.