Waste Management

Since 1990, Mannvit has been heavily involved in all phases of waste management consulting in Iceland. A recent project of note was, Mannvit was hired to perform a cost and benefit analysis of aerobic composting, anaerobic digestion, incineration and new landfill sites for several municipalities in Iceland, including the capital area, in 2006. The participating areas consisted of 34 municipalities with 250,000 inhabitants.

The main concern was the organic waste with potential greenhouse gas emissions.  According to EEC directives, the landfilling of organic waste must be reduced considerably in the near future and eventually phased out.  The waste companies are running out of landfill space and are having problems obtaining permission to open new landfills.

Waste Management Plan - Mannvit.is

Waste Management Plan

During the period from 2006 and 2007, several methods of treating organic and combustible waste were compared. The objective of the comparison was to determine the best method from an environmental and economic point of view.  All the methods considered utilized “best available technology” according to the EU IPPC. 

The different treatment methods, plant sizes and various possible sites were used in a cost optimization model to calculate the most cost effective solution for the area as a whole.  This resulted in a waste management plan based on the following premises:

  • All landfilling of organic and combustible waste will be terminated no later than 2020
  • The hierarchy of waste treatment is based on the European waste hierarchy
  • Available landfill sites for the next 12 years operation were identified
  • Milestones for the next three years were set

The waste treatment hierarchy is as follows

In the recycling stage, reusable and recoverable waste is removed from the waste stream to avoid wasting valuable raw materials and to reduce the total amount of waste for treatment.

Suitable waste from the recycling stage is fed to an anaerobic digestion step to make as much biogas as practical from the organic portion. The biogas is purified to >95% methane and used as vehicle fuel to offset fossil fuel.

The remaining waste from the anaerobic digestion step plus another incoming stream of suitable waste is composted in an aerobic composting step. Depending on the selected technology for the composting, reusable and recoverable waste is removed from the waste stream before or after the composting step.

The recovered waste, e.g. plastics, rubber, wood, etc., will be used to produce solid recovered fuel (SRF) if economically viable. This fuel can be used to replace coal with subsequent carbon emission reduction.

We are a project-driven company with hands-on experience in composting, waste management, landfill gas, biogas and new landfill sites.


Sighvatur Óttarr Elefsen

Mechanical Engineer M.Sc.


+354 422 3130