ALBA W&H Smart City Pte Ltd
Read about the different hidden champions amongst our German Mittelstand.
ALBA W&H Smart City (ALBA W&H) is a Joint Venture company between the 50 years old German company, ALBA Group, and the local waste collection company Wah&Hua Pte Ltd. The ALBA Group is established as the recycling and waste management company in Europe and has expanded to Asia with operations in China, Hong Kong, and now Singapore. Being forerunners in the sustainability realm, in 2018 alone the ALBA Group was able to save a total of more than 31.9 million tonnes of primary resources through recycling, which therefore did not need to be taken from the environment in addition to 4.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions saved through recycling.
Our role in Singapore is to carry forward the legacy of the ALBA Group, to bring in sustainable and innovative technologies and combine them with local know-how with Wah & Hua Pte Ltd. Both companies being family-run businesses, traditions run deep, and valuing resources is considered the utmost responsibility. As ALBA, celebrates 50 years of recycling experience, we have evolved and transformed ourselves to best fit our new dictum: “Tradition meets Innovation”.
Starting from April 1st, 2020, the National Environment Agency of Singapore has awarded the new Public Waste Collection contract for the Jurong sector to ALBA W&H. As the appointed public waste collector, ALBA W&H provides refuse and recyclables collection services to over 156,000 premises – comprising 151,000 households and 5,000 trade premises, including hawker and market stalls, shops, places of worship, and government buildings. As a part of ALBA’s smart city portfolio, we introduced for the first time, as The Straits Times term it, “Eco-friendly Waste Collection Fleet” for refuse and recyclables collection. Our trucks are retrofitted with sustainable features like solar mats on the truck roofs to decrease fuel consumption and carbon emissions, dust eaters to filter out Particulate Matter from the air, and also features E-ink screens on the side of the trucks to spread environmental awareness. A fully digitalized dynamic route planning software is used to plan and carry out the daily refuse and recyclables collection. This enables collection activities to be tracked, and weights of the bins are measured using weight sensors software for optimizing collection logistics which enables minimal time spent on roads. Towards the end of this year, ALBA W&H will also be introducing fully electric trucks to further decrease the dependency on fossil fuels.
Apart from the eco-friendly fleet, keeping in pace with NEA’s environmental target of reaching 70% recycling rate by 2030, ALBA W&H will bring in innovations tailored to Singapore under the banner “Singapore Trash Evolution Program” or simply, “STEP UP Singapore”. The program introduces a specially developed app called “STEP UP Sustainability” which lets users collect green bonus points through proper waste segregation and recycling. The STEP UP Sustainability App is a first-of-its-kind mobile application that rewards users with green bonus points known as CO2 points for their recycling efforts. The CO2 points represent the amount of CO2 emissions that one could save through recycling actions. “The main intention of the app is to address the issue of low recycling rates by helping the public associate trash with value, make recycling more convenient and instill a zero-waste mindset.”, said Jakob Lambsdorff, CEO of ALBA W&H.
To collect CO2 points, residents need to first download the STEP UP Sustainability app for free (www.step-up.sg )and scan the STEP UP Recycling QR codes pasted on the blue recycling bins and recycling chutes (these are available only in the Jurong Sector). Once the scanning process is complete, the resident will be prompted by the app to take a clear photo of the clean and empty recyclable items that he plans to place in the recycling bin. The app would then award the resident points which can be accumulated and later redeemed for vouchers.
The initial release features Grab and Ohm energy as major redeem partners. Besides them, the app will also showcase other sustainable products. The app lets users keep track of their recycling habits and CO2 savings. Apart from the scanning and redeem function, the sustainability app also helps one locate the nearest recycling bins and cash-for-trash events. Additionally, the app provides tips for leading a sustainable lifestyle. Schools and NGOs can also participate in recycling programs by signing up as an organisation and take part in interschool competitions to win sustainability awards.
Where incineration is so popular, it is quite challenging to convince the people to see that there is value in trash and to show recycling is a necessary component for guaranteeing a circular economy. Therefore we tried digital ways and gamification to provide the right incentive to the people in terms of CO2 points (or carbon offsets) by imbibing in their consciousness that their actions have an impact on the environment.
In the first two months of collection operations alone, we take pride in saying that we were able to save more than 6 tonnes of CO2 emissions and over 2300 L of diesel through the solar mats installed on our truck roofs. Through recyclables collected from premises through standard collection, we save around 62 tonnes of CO2 emissions. We hope this number significantly increases through the STEP UP sustainability app in the coming months.
We also practice what we preach, in our office, we have equipped the working floors with recycling bins where employees can bring in their recyclables from home and participate in the recycling program. Apart from recycling programs, we also practice composting in our office.
We have started with Jurong where we will see the sustainable future of the waste management industry; an area, which will define the standard for the upcoming decades and will be the seed of transforming Singapore into a Zero-Waste Nation. With our smart sustainable solutions, we are confident that together we will transform the waste management industry in the vibrant environment that our ancestors envisioned – A clean, green, and blue Singapore.
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