Press release: Smart biodigester converts food waste from companies in Amsterdam Zuidoost into green energy

AMSTERDAM, July 12, 2023 – The food waste from companies in Amsterdam Zuidoost, starting with the Johan Cruijff ArenA and ING, followed by Amsterdam UMC (AMC location) and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, will be sustainably and locally reused with a smart biodigester. This Waste Transformer converts non-consumable food waste into local green energy and organic fertilizer. The energy generated by the biodigester, located next to the Johan Cruijff ArenA, will be utilized by the stadium. The project will create a total of seven full-time jobs annually for people with a distance to the labour market. Eventually, the food waste from the weekly market in Amsterdam Zuidoost will also be processed.

It is expected that in the first year, this biodigester in Amsterdam Zuidoost will convert a daily average of 350kg of food waste into energy and nutrients. Scaling up to 1800kg per day is planned, generating 92,000 kWh of electricity annually. This is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 33 Dutch households. The food waste will be collected daily from the participating organizations in Amsterdam Zuidoost and locally processed in the Waste Transformer. In addition to the generated electricity, the residual heat will be converted into cooling for the data center beneath the Johan Cruijff ArenA. The Waste Transformer significantly reduces the transportation of food waste from Amsterdam Zuidoost and minimizes CO2 emissions. The valuable nutrients in the food waste are being explored for their potential to replace artificial fertilizer this natural fertilizer.

Creating awareness for behaviour change

There is still insufficient awareness regarding the negative impact of our food waste and the extent to which improper disposal significantly contributes to climate change. Depositing one kilogram of food waste in a landfill produces more CO2 than depositing 25,000 small plastic bottles. It is the first time that companies are collectively collecting and sustainably reusing their food waste on this local scale.

Officiele inwerkingstelling van de Waste Transformer naast de Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam Zuidoost.
Vlnr: Zita Pels, Wethouder o.a. Duurzaamheid, Energietransitie en Afval Gemeente Amsterdam, Tanja Dik CEO Johan Cruijff ArenA en Lara van Druten CEO The Waste Transformers.

Waste Transformer Amsterdam Zuidoost

The project is an initiative of Zuidoost Circulair, a consortium of local businesses in Amsterdam Zuidoost that sought a sustainable solution for local waste management. In addition to The Waste Transformers, the Johan Cruijff ArenA and the Municipality of Amsterdam have played important roles. The other participating organizations include ING, Amsterdam UMC (AMC location), Amsterdam Zuidoost, ABN-AMRO, Pantar, BAM, TNO, HvA, UvA, and Royal HaskoningDHV. “The power of daily visible collection within organizations and immediate local processing creates opportunities to inspire and inform employees. We want to show people and businesses what can be achieved when we join forces,” said Lara van Druten, CEO at The Waste Transformers.

This unique project has garnered a lot of interest, particularly from the world of football: the Johan Cruijff ArenA aims to be a flagship stadium in terms of sustainability, and UEFA has already embraced the project and its technology as a shining example for other stadiums worldwide seeking to become more sustainable.

The project is also supported by the European Union and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and has been partly financed as part of the Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Waste Transformers

The Waste Transformers develop and build small-scale bio-digesters that are placed at the location where food waste is generated. In this modular system, food waste is converted into renewable energy, and the nutrients can be reused. They are active in the Netherlands and beyond.

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