Underground and semi-underground containers: Usage-dependent waste disposal saves money and protects the climate

In Duisburg-Ungelsheim, they have been putting rubbish below ground since 2008. The Duisburg municipal enterprises (Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg) worked with the construction company, Rheinwohnungsbau GmbH, to replace the conventional waste bins with so-called semi-underground containers, which are partially sunken into the ground. Along with an individual recording and billing system for tenants, incentives to improve waste separation have been created as part of this project.

Engine for progress:

  • reduction in CO2emissions due to improved waste separation
  • financial benefits for citizens
  • enhancement of the residential environment

1 of 4

Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg-AöR

Barrier-free access and simple to operate – the new containers are easy for everyone to reach.

Under this innovative collection system, large-volume containers are partially or completely sunken into the ground, so that only a part of the container, or exclusively the refuse chute, is visible above ground. This is not just beneficial from a visual point of view: the space-saving containers make it possible to separate and collect recyclable materials close to the home, even in densely-built neighbourhoods, and ensure almost barrier-free access. The simple method of operation makes it easier to dispose of household waste. If space can also be created for containers to collect recyclable materials, paper and glass, then waste separation is significantly improved.

Accurate billing: separating waste cuts costs

The really smart feature of the system is the GABIS containers (GABIS stands for the German initials meaning “Waste bins with an identification system for large housing estates” (Großwohnanlagen-Abfallbehälter mit Identifikations-System)). By means of an electronic locking system which is easy to operate, the amount of rubbish discarded as household waste can be recorded precisely for each home. Unauthorised persons have no access and the tenants receive a bill based on their use of the waste system. The electricity for the GABIS containers is provided by solar cells.

Above all, this individualised system of recording rubbish promotes waste separation. The charges for residual waste can be identified immediately; this increases the incentive to separate waste better. The input slot is also limited in size, which means that bulky items cannot be thrown into the residual waste containers. Since the disposal of residual waste involves relatively higher costs than the disposal of recyclable materials, the overall waste disposal costs tend to decrease. In Ungelsheim, it was possible to pass on to tenants savings of 14 per cent in waste collection fees.

Improved residential environment

The new collection system means increased convenience for residents: the new collection points have no barriers and can be operated easily by any age group. Elderly residents, in particular, find that they can manage the new system much better. The appearance of the residential environment improves; it is cleaner and quieter. In the district of Ungelsheim, this meant that flats could be rented out more easily.

And this solution also works elsewhere: based on the project in Ungelsheim, 255 semi-underground containers and 66 underground containers are now being used across the whole urban region.

Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg-AöR

“We are proud to be part of KlimaExpo.NRW with our GABIS-containers for barrier-free waste disposal. With this tenant-friendly system, we have found an innovative way to promote waste separation, which not only makes it more convenient to dispose of waste in large housing estates, but also contributes to climate protection.”

Thomas Patermann, Spokesperson of the Board of Directors of the Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg-AöR

Partners and sponsors

  • Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg-AöR
  • Rheinwohnungsbau GmbH