Monday, 19 December 2016

Sustainability in the Scottish Highlands with Big Hanna

In 2010 Glenmore Lodge installed a Big Hanna. Six years later we revisit to take a look at how Big Hanna is doing and what the staff think about composting. Has everything worked out, and is composting really as easy as we claimed it would be?

Glenmore Lodge is situated in Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands, 40 miles (app 65 km) southeast of Inverness. It is Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre and offers a wide range of outdoor training and qualifying courses for both individuals and professional instructors. At Glenmore Lodge visitors can take part in a whole range of different outdoor disciplines such as mountaineering, mountain biking, skiing, kayaking and canoeing with experienced instructors. During its 60 year long operation it’s won an international reputation both for the inspiring outdoor activities but also for its magnificent surroundings. The Cairngorms National Park enjoys more than 55 mountains over 3000 ft (900 m) and a large number of rivers and lochs. Glenmore Lodge is located in the midst of it all with an immediate access to the outdoors.

Inspired by nature

As well as courses Glenmore Lodge also offers accommodation, meeting rooms, climbing wall, gym and has a bar which is open to the public serving bar meals seven days a week, 50 weeks of the year. Each year they welcome over 45000 visitors and the business generates its fair share of waste. It’s not too far fetched to believe that the beautiful location in this wilderness inspired the change in waste management. The actual process began in December 2008 when Bob Kinnaird was appointed as new Principal. He made it clear that he had a vision where Glenmore Lodge would become waste neutral. One of the first steps towards this goal was without question to look at how to deal with the food waste.

The process begins

Kirsty Murfitt, Environmental Coordinator at Glenmore Lodge took on the task of investigating different solutions. She began with carrying out a two week long waste audit where all food waste from the kitchen and dining room was measured. In the beginning the staff were very sceptical at being asked to weigh all the waste, but much of that changed during the audit. “It became visible to all of us that we threw away a lot of food”, says Kirsty Murfitt. “Each day generated around 30 kilos of waste because we prepared too much food, guests not eating all they took and from food going off. This created an eagerness to change our habits and a willingness to recycle the actual waste”.

How to do it

The next step was to investigate different composters and how they worked. A process lasting more than year resulted in the decision to buy a Big Hanna T120.

Up until now Glenmore Lodge had used six 1200 liter bins for all its waste which were collected and taken to landfill. In the highlands it is a struggle to recycle many types of waste that other parts of the UK can. Most waste unfortunately finds its way to landfill so a change towards a more sustainable waste management system was very appealing explains Kirsty Murfitt. However, she was a bit worried if the staff would buy into the idea.

“Back then no one understood how it all worked and we all had concerns: would maintenance be difficult and time consuming, would there be a smell during the process, would it attract rats or other vermin..?”

Big Hanna arrives

In November 2010 Big Hanna arrived, because of bad weather and too much snow the machine was started up in January. A small group of people started using the machine and the waste was separated in the kitchen. It was an issue to keep down the size of food going in in the beginning, Kirsty recalls with a laugh.

“If you throw in a whole cabbage or bread roll it won’t go down in size or compost… It was also important to keep temperature and moisture at the right level, but we got clear advice and began slow with little material and plenty of sawdust. We also got really good feedback from the display. It was all quite simple actually, as soon as we got it up to the right temperature it just worked”.

Since then Big Hanna has worked really well. Apart from a broken wheel bracket that they fixed themselves the machine has run steadily with a minimum of management other than an occasional fuse.

No more landfill

Nowadays no food waste goes to landfill, it all goes into Hanna. Earlier on regulations made it impossible to compost meat. That changed, and since the kitchen installed a macerator dewatering device that cuts all meat into small pieces, all food waste is composted.
“Now that we can put everything into Big Hanna maintenance is much easier” says Kirsty. “It´s cleaner too, and just think of the number of bins we no longer need to get emptied. Big Hanna has enabled us to comply with legislation brought in to deal with the separation and disposal of food waste".
Looking back this process has been a successful change towards sustainability. During the first waste audit in November 2009 the waste averaged at 221KG, where 147KG was non meat waste. Six months later many old habits were changed and the waste reduced to 184KG, with 110KG non meat waste. Through conscious work the amount of waste have reduced continuously and the dewatering process reduced the weight even more. Today Glenmore Lodge puts approximately 55 kg of dewatered waste into Hanna each week; the material is reduced by 85-90 % which results in around 30 kilos of compost per month. “The compost that comes out now is lovely and fine and we can use all of it. That’s a benefit to us since it’s still considered as waste and can´t leave our grounds. We spread it on our lawns or flowerbeds. I can´t say that I´ve seen any great changes in the flourishing, but nothing grows very well up here in the highlands”.

A sustainable future

Composting has been a valuable experience in many ways she concludes, maybe not in making a financial profit but it is certainly beneficial for the environment. And nowadays Glenmore Lodge aim to recycle as much as possible; even old furniture, mattresses and other useful things that can be recycled by other people. 

So far composting is in its early stage with just a few other machines in Scotland. Over the years Glenmore Lodge has had a lot of visitors who have wanted to learn from their experience, and Kirsty welcomes them all.

“Seeing Big Hanna and talking to us who use her will make a big difference for the visitor. I think many people believe it takes a lot of time and technical knowhow to use the machine and therefore don’t want to investigate composting further, but visiting Big Hanna will change that picture”.


Read more about Glenmore Lodge:
Read more about Big Hanna:

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Successful local composting in Casalbuono

In September 2016 another Big Hanna was inaugurated in Italy. Our latest composting project is situated in Casalbuono, a small town in the Province of Salerno in the south west part of Italy.  As always, our Italian partner Achab Group managed the installation and supervised the inauguration. 

Negative effects from organic waste

Casalbuono, is a provincial town of 1,230 inhabitants and its innovative municipal government took on a new approach to reduce the waste treatment costs. Since the region was devoid of local composting facilities the municipalities have been forced to transport all its organic waste at very high costs and negative environmental effects. A change was needed and the municipal decided to start up a local composting project.

Adopted local composting

An extensive communication campaign was implemented throughout the municipality to make citizens aware of the project objectives. It was also important to provide the entire community with information on home composting and how to separate the waste correctly. In order to succeed the municipal organised educational workshops and classes on composting at the local primary school. The city then adopted a municipal regulation where their citizens signed an agreement to practice local composting.
The result was immediate, their transport costs are down to zero and all citizens benefit from a 10 % discount on waste taxes. 

Innovative solution that reduce costs

Casalbuono invested in a Big Hanna T240. The compost machine is equipped with an efficient bio filter to reduce the odours that occur during the decomposition. It loads between 400-1200 kilos each week and will allow the town to manage all its on-site organic waste. The waste is being separated in the households and then collected by the municipal.
      – It 's been a long process, but in the end and with great determination we were able to realize this project with local composting, says Attilio Romano, the Mayor of Casalbuono. This new waste management system will allow both economic and environmental benefits. Small towns like ours can’t afford high operating costs and we welcome innovative solutions that allow a sustainable waste management.
    The compost will turn into nutritious fertilizers and be reused in the communal gardens and flower beds.

The City of Casalbuono is the second town in the region to implement local composting after The City of Cuccaro Vetere with 580 inhabitants.

This installation was made by our distributor Achab Group.
Read more about Achab Group here:

Read more about Big Hanna, our compost machines and different models here:

Monday, 24 October 2016

Skövdebostäder chose Big Hanna for their new residential area

The Swedish municipal real estate company Skövde-bostäder is constructing a new ecological residential area in Aspö, beautifully located northwest of the city Skövde in the southwest part of Sweden. The area represents a unique project with the ambition to create an environmentally profiled residential area with focus on the interaction between people and nature. The concept includes local composting and Skövde-bostäder chose a Big Hanna T120 to compost the residents' food waste.

The inauguration was held in September 2016 by representatives from both Skövde-bostäder and the construction company Peab. Cecilia Ek represented Big Hanna and demonstrated the compost machine Big Hanna T120 and how the compost process works during progress.  

A residential area in harmony with nature

The residential project Aspö Eko-logi was started in February 2015 and the first tenants moved in during June 2016. The whole area is estimated to be fully built by 2018 at the earliest. When it´s fully inhabited it will consist of seven residential buildings varying in sizes and the amount of floors. The municipal real estate owner Skövde-bostäder already maintained activities at a municipal center, Aspögården, on the premises. This center will continue to develop in harmony with the residential area with the idea that future residents will be able to take part in the activities in different ways. 

Big Hanna an important part of the environmental profile 

Aspö Eko-logi was designed by Micael Ekberg at Abako Architects and built by the construction firm Peab. The residential area has a strong environmental profile with a number of details that have been well thought through. The facades will to a high extent be built by natural materials and harmonize with the surroundings. Energy consumption and energy recovery are both important issues; the buildings are therefor constructed with passive house technology and solar power plants will ad to the production of hot water and electricity. Energy will be recovered from waste water, and rain water will be collected and used to water the communal gardens and kitchen garden. 
The Landscape architect John Tizzard designed the gardens and planned many practical details such as fruit trees and -bushes, berries and edible plants that can be used for food or dessert. The household waste will be loaded into the Big Hanna T120 and turned into compost which will fertilise the area's many gardens.  It´s all part of a recycling system that aim to create the smallest possible environmental impact.  

Big interest for local composting

Big Hanna T120 was installed during the summer and on the opening day Cecilia Ek from Big Hanna was present to demonstrate its function to many interested visitors. T120 will be producing an estimated 50-100 liters of nutritious soil fertiliser each week and thus be an important part of the neighbourhoods environmental work and profile.

Chef Rune Kalf Hansen cooked organic food

Chef Rune Kalf Hansen were present during the whole day. As well as cooking tasty organic food for all the guests he gave inspiring tips about environmentally conscious living; such as how to cook and how to grow organic food in the communal organic garden. 
As the inauguration day turned into evening the sun set beautifully on Big Hanna and the residential area Aspö Eko-logi. 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Bassiano - medieval village choose a sustainable system

Italy is getting more and more determined to implement a more sustainable waste management and local composting is one important step on the way. In June 2016 another Big Hanna was installed in Bassiano, a small mountain village 25 miles southwest of Rome.

Picturesque mountain village

Bassiano is a beautiful mountain village at 562 meters above sea level. The tiny village climbs around the hill with a lovely view over the surrounding landscape. A large part of the old curtain wall still remains and a walk through the narrow alleys takes the visitor back to medieval times. In one of the five old churches in the village a cave was recently found with old frescoes dating back to the year 1005. Apart from its historical inheritance Bassiano is famous for its prosciutto. It is prepared using strictly natural and traditional methods and stands out because of the seasoning: a dressing of garlic, pepper and white wine, followed by a 17-18 months long period of dry-curing. The end result is excellent, so much so that the inhabitants of Bassiano dedicate a festival to their ham: the Ham Festival is held once a year on the last Sunday of July. Bassiano was founded in 880 and has a total of 1600 inhabitants. 

Local composting

To create a sustainable waste management the municipality began to build a system for local composting during 2016 and chose to invest in a Big Hanna T240.

The compost machine can load between 400-1200 kilos of organic waste each week and is equipped with an efficient biofilter to reduce the odours that occur during the decomposition. The municipality will also begin to collect food waste from the local households and load it into the Big Hanna T240.

Instead of costly and time consuming transports the organic waste will now be recycled and reused as a natural fertilizer. The ambition is that all compost will be used in the local area.

Big Hanna T240 was installed at the waste collection site in Bassiano on June 21, 2016.  The installation went very well and the machine is up and running. In 6 to 10 weeks the waste will be turned into valuable compost.

The installationen was made by our distributor Achab Group.
Read more about Achab Group here:

Read more about Big Hanna, our compost machines and different models here:

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Kanyon Shopping Mall in Istanbul installed a Big Hanna

Kanyon Shopping Mall is a multi-purpose complex located on the Büyükdere Avenue in the Levent business district of Istanbul, Turkey. It houses 160 stores as well as an office- and a residential block. During 2016 Kanyon celebrate it´s 10th anniversary and decided to meet the future with a more sustainable waste management. They invested in a Big Hanna T120 composter.

As more and more companies turn towards a green philosophy the Kanyon Shopping Mall wanted to implement a project which was to be the first of it’s kind in Turkey. Here the Big Hanna T120 will use the work of microorganisms and turn all the food waste collected at the Mall into compost. The process will produce an estimated annual output of 6.5 tons of compost. In April the Big Hanna was installed and so far the outcome lives up to the expectations.

Environmentally friendly

The composter creates a natural soil fertilizer and is one of the most environmentally friendly solutions to organic waste management. The system decreases the number of garbage containers locally as well as the amount of waste transports. In the long run it also considerably reduces the need of landfill sites and thereby reduce the need to sanitize soil as well as avoid contamination of groundwater. The waste volume is reduced by 90% and it´s weight by 50%. To reduce the odorous emissions that are naturally generated by the composting process, the machine is equipped with a biofilter. Through the effective loading system any hygiene problems are eliminated.

Local use of compost

The Big Hanna is up and running and in the near future it will produce high quality compost that will be used in the area around the Kanyon Shopping Mall. The aim is that the compost will be part of the organic life cycle and help produce food in the local area.

Huge reduction

Thanks to Big Hanna T120 the Kanyon Shopping Mall will reduce it’s waste by 26 tons of garbage and at least 104 tons of carbon dioxide annually – an important step towards a more sustainable environment.

Our partner

Ecotec is our partner and distributor in Turkey. The company is run by Mehmet Basaran and situated in Istanbul. Mehmet Basarans’ philosophy is to spread a wider awareness about sustainability, recycling and composting as well as distributing our Big Hanna composters. Big Hanna and Ecotec have cooperated since 2011 and Ecotec handled the installation of the Big Hanna T120 at the Kanyon Shopping Mall in Istanbul.

Read more about Ecotec:

Read more about the installation in Turkish: 

Read more about Big Hanna:

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Seven Big Hannas delivered to southern Italy

Together with our partner Achab Group we have had the pleasure to deliver seven Big Hannas to the region of Puglia in the southeastern part of Italy.

Big Hanna model T480

The composters (T480 and T240) were delivered to Italy between September and December 2015. Since then Achab Group has delivered the machines to the seven municipalities and they will start up the installations during the spring. 
     The delivery includes a Big Hanna as well as construction and installation of security system, a water collection system, roofing and prefabricated support. Achab Group will also handle the training of the local staff and implement the start up process.
     The Big Hanna is equipped with a Touch screen panel and is connected by an Ethernet cable to the municipalities own internal network. This enables the staff to control the machine by a remote system and constantly monitor the temperature of the internal process, the operating parameters and to get daily reports on activities in real time. 

Local composting - zero transportation

In Italy the project goes under the name ”0 km from organic waste to compost" to enhance the local perspective. The organic waste will be collected at every household in the municipality and emptied in the local Big Hanna. The machine will turn the waste into fertilising compost which will be used in the local area.

     The seven sites allow a total average capacity of 120 t/year and will decrease costs as well as  facilitate organic waste management. Local composting eliminates both transportation costs and CO2 emissions when the municipalities no longer need to transport their organic waste to remote waste facilities.

We´ll keep you updated

There are so far seven municipalities in the Puglia province that invested in a Big Hanna's: Sant'Agata, Panni, Anzano, Lizzanello, Miggiano, Montesano Salentino and 
     We will follow the coming start-ups with great interest and share the results here as the composters are up and running throughout spring and early summer.

Read more about our partner Achab Group here:

Read more about Big Hanna composters and different models here:

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Big Hanna and ABB - a secure solution for Rosendals Trädgård

In the latest edition of ABB's corporate magazine 'Utblick' an article tells the story about our joint venture at Rosendals Trädgård in Stockholm. The same story was published at the ABB website and we´re happy to share it here with our readers. 

At Rosendals Trädgård our Big Hanna model T-240 turns garden and food waste into useful and fertilising soil ever since its installation in 2012. ABB delivered its Pluto safety system which we integrated with the machine prior to delivery and installation on site. Since then Big Hanna has become an important part of the gardens recycling system and gardener Niklas Karlsson almost sees "her" as a colleague. The full story is so far only available in swedish but we are happy to share the full english version translated by ABB below.

See the full story in Swedish with all pictures here:

Read more about Big Hanna composting and different models here:

Full translation in English:
The machine that makes it easier to breathe

Big Hanna, the composting machine, is the center of a recycling system where food waste is converted into compost and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This means that Big Hanna improves the quality of the air we breathe.

Niklas Karlsson, head of the kitchen garden at Rosendals Trädgård, is standing at one end of a large machine. He runs his right hand through the soil in a container, lifts a fistful and then releases it through his fingers.

“This is fantastic compost. You can rely on her. She makes our job so much easier,” Karlsson says when he lays his soily hand on one of the hatches as if giving her a gentle pat.

She is Big Hanna, a composting machine that was installed at Rosendals Trädgård three years ago.

“Obviously she is a machine, but she is only using mechanics to boost a natural process. Big Hanna is my own special cow. She composts our food waste in four steps over two months, just like a cow with its four stomachs,” Karlsson says.

Here at Rosendals Trädgård, a model T-240 Big Hanna Composter has become an important part of recycling on site. Rosendals Trädgård farms biodynamically and they have now closed the circle, as Karlsson phrases it.

“The food people enjoy in the restaurant this year comes from the food people enjoyed here last year, or at least food left over from the year before,” he says.

Tin-Tin Jersild, who is head of operations at Rosendals Trädgård, naturally agrees. She deposits a container of food waste into Big Hanna, adds some pellets and explains:

“This machine helps us to recycle resources. In other words, not to consume more resources than our operations produce.”

“Precisely. We wouldn't be able to do what we have been wanting to do without Big Hanna. The process is now much quicker thanks to Big Hanna but it is still very much a natural and organic process,” adds Karlsson.

He pushes up his beanie hat, leans on a spade by one of the composter bins some way from Big Hanna and beams in a way only a man who loves composters more than anything else in the world can do.

“Before Big Hanna, it took twelve months to get good compost. Now it's ready in half that time,” he says.

It all starts with food waste. This comes from the restaurant and bakery at Rosendals Trädgård, where nothing is allowed to be thrown away. Even though the Big Hanna T-240 Composter is packed with advanced technology and mechanics plus safety sensors from ABB that ensures it is safe and secure to work with, the process itself is very close to nature's own composting process and actually pretty simple. In with the old at one end. Out with the new at the other end.

100 kilos of food waste is transformed into around ten to 20 kg of compost.

Containers of food waste are emptied into a container where the waste is ground and mixed with pellets. This mix is then passed into Big Hanna where it makes its way through the four “stomachs” or stages over a three to four week period.

The four stages are a kind of rumination, except the end product is soil that is mixed with sawdust. A kind of pre-compost rather than manure.

However, proper manure is also required. So when this pre-compost is transferred to the compost area at Rosendals Trädgård, it is mixed with natural dung from the horses, cows and boars from Skansen, the next door neighbor on Djurgården. Six months later, Niklas Karlsson and Tin-Tin Jersild and their team have a soil improver that is as far from artificial fertilizers and chemicals as possible. The cycle has been completed.

Karlsson and Jersild are living the dream for vegetable lovers. Karlsson offers us some oyster leaf and fresh wasabi to taste. Jersild says:

“The better the nutrition that is added to the soil, the better the vegetables taste. We are reinforcing the organisms in the soil after every harvest and benefiting the microorganisms in it.”

Karlsson returns to the subject of “her”. To his Big Hanna.

“We understand each other. She is reliable and creates something we need. Plus she is safe to work with. The safety sensors are exactly what they sound like: they monitor the process and stop the machine immediately if anything is not as it should be.”

Fact box below top picture:Big Hanna in the world

Big Hanna was invented by sociologist Torsten Hultin in 1991 to “make us aware of how modern society misuses the earth's resources”. According to Hultin, on site composting would ensure we better understand the grow-eat-grow cycle. There are now Big Hannas all round the world: at the French research station Port-aux-Francais on the tiny Kerguelen Islands in the Pacific Ocean, on Sweden's highest mountain, Kebnekaise, at a large military base on New Zealand, in around 50 prisons in England and numerous prisons in Ohio, USA, where they are also now part of rehabilitation programs.

Photos from left to right:
1: Tin-Tin Jersild and Niklas Karlsson at Rosendals Trädgård. Big Hanna composting machine contains ABB machine safety products and has become an essential part of recycling and organic farming work. All food waste is pre-composted for soil enrichment.

2: ABB safety products ensure machine safety. It is absolutely impossible to start the machine until the Eden safety sensor has sent the all clear signal.

3: The temperature can reach 62 or even sometimes 63 degrees inside the machine, as microorganisms help break down old bread, potatoes and egg shell.

4-5: Niklas Karlsson, head of the kitchen garden at Rosendals Trädgård, is passionate about recycling, composting and ecology.

5: Tin-Tin Jersild, head of operations at Rosendals Trädgård, with a container of food waste that is about to be emptied into Big Hanna. “The machine helps us to avoid consuming more resources than our operations produce,” she says.

6: Rosendals Trädgård had a Big Hanna model T-240 installed.

7: Rosendals Trädgård dates back to the 17th century. The farm has 100 fruit trees, including several ones over 150 years old, 144 different kinds of vegetable and if you include sub species, there are “easily a thousand vegetables” in the words of Niklas Karlsson.

Text by: Stefan Johansson Photos: Gustav Mårtensson


Story 2 under “Läs mer” and the link “Ingen risk för skador”

No risk of injury

Big Hanna is a composting machine that converts food waste into compost and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ABB safety products ensure machine safety.

When compost systems manufacturer Susteco AB wanted to integrate an effective safety system, they chose Pluto-PLC from ABB where the components communicate with each other.

“The system ensures people who use Big Hanna feel perfectly safe,” says Cecilia Ek, sales director at Susteco AB.

Machine safety is not only important for anyone who operates the machinery, it is also important for efficiency, as it reduces wear and tear and ensures a longer life span for the equipment.

ABB is the world leader in machine safety and more and more companies are choosing the ABB integrated safety sensor Eden.

“When you work with Big Hanna you can focus entirely on what is going on inside the machine without have to think about safety. Its flexibility means you can work in various different ways and concentrate on the work you are doing without the slightest concern about the machine,” says Ek.

The Pluto safety PLC is the “brain” that can manage different types of safety sensor. In the case of Big Hanna, the Eden concept, also from ABB, was chosen. In addition to having a high enclosure class for outdoor use, the Eden non-contact sensor provides greater scope in managing the mechanical design of hatches. Compared to the sensor previously used, it has three times greater tolerance. Pluto not only checks the hatches, it stops the machine from operating if a hatch is opened.

“It is absolutely impossible to start the machine until Eden has sent the all clear signal,” says Harald Estving at Elektro Part AB, who did all the programming.

Between them, ABB and Elektro Part AB worked out an optimum solution that was then presented to Susteco. Estving was responsible for the programming and ABB produced a CAD sketch showing a modular system where you can add more and more hatches if required.

“The Pluto safety-PLC is a new generation of control systems that are twice as safe,” says Estving.

Below picture:

What ABB did

* ABB has installed its Pluto safety system including its Eden safety sensor that consists of components Adam and Eva. The Pluto safety PLC sends a coded signal to Adam and when the hatch is closed, Eva makes contact with Adam that then sends the coded signal on to Pluto that the system is safe and secure.

* ABB and systems integrator Elektro Part AB chose to update to a more modern, flexible and modular system with Pluto and Eden from older safety relays, with safety sensor JSNY7 in Big Hanna at Rosendals Trädgård.

* Pluto and the number of Edens are customized to customer requirements, in the case of Big Hanna, the number of hatches.

Text by: Stefan Johansson Photos: Patrik Söderman and Anna Rehnberg