Waste Recycling Ship

An innovative, ship based turnkey solution for integrated waste management on Islands, large cities at coasts or at rivers.    
Why is a ship the solution?


We have to see earth as a single entity.

Global megatrends, challenges and answers to a sustainable waste management 
concept for island states and large cities at the coasts or rivers.

Over 70% of our earth is covered by water while 30% of the earth is populated by 7,3 billion inhabitants, and by the year 2050 it will be 9,5 billion inhabitants (Statista 2015).

70% of the world population lives on coasts or on more than 100,000 inhabited islands. Furthermore it is predicted, by the year 2050, 50% of the world population will live in so-called “Megacities”, of which 60% are located on coasts (D. Lindenau).

For over two decades we have known that humans use more than the earth can regenerate. Large economic differences lead to extreme social differences on our planet. Today’s predominant economy can only lead into a global dead end, into a world of large conflicts and arguments about scarce supply resources and into a world of full instabilities and disorder. Therefore, we must change direction. Our goal must be a conservation of resources not continuous use of new resources by using them carefully in our lives and in the economy.

In particular, a regulated waste management is neglected, as many countries do not invest in a sustainable waste management because no money can be earned.

Therefore over 50% of all countries have no waste management system. As a consequence in these countries waste is frequently wildly deposited and/or openly burned, or disposed specifically in the oceans.

The most important habitat on Earth – the seven seas –has experienced extreme strong utilization and pollution by humans that it is high time to reverse this disastrous state. This can only succeed if we realize a sustainable waste management concept, in relation to the problem of waste in countries throughout the world.

All humans want to have a lasting environment; but they cannot afford it everywhere. Therefore, the rich countries must help the poorer countries by way of concrete projects. 

This is a challenge for the entire world. 

First studies:

For two model regions, i.e. the Cape Verdian islands and the Maldives, the German federal foundation environment DBU promoted the German Lindenau expert team with the elaboration of two feasibility studies (concept cape Verden and concept Maldives) for the waste recycling ship. The study began in August 2012 and finalized in the IV quarter 2013.

Global quantities of municipal solid wastes are estimated to be 1,3 billion t annually, of witch 30% are not collected regularly.

The number of people without access to a waste management system is estimated to 3,5 billion people. If we continue with a Business as Usual practice, the situation seems to worsen significantly, with forecasts to estimate that the population that will have no access to waste management services in 2050 will be around 5.6 billion (vgl. Waste Atlas [online]). 

And no reversal of trend is ahead! Quite the contrary is reality. The maximum of global waste production will not be pass this decade (Hoornweg, S. 615-616).

According to estimations by The World Bank ́s „ The global review of solide waste management „ published 2012, the global waste quantities will increase from 1,3 billion tons per year to 2,2 billion tones by 2025 (Hornweg; Bhada-Tato, 2012 S. 8).

If our prosperity model would be transferred invariably to the developing countries, we will need five times more raw materials in the year 2050 than 2005 (Dehoust G. et al. 2010). 

Crucial is, however, that the waste collection rate varies dramatically. While in high-developed countries like Germany nearly 100% of the waste is collected, in developing countries like Bangladesh it is only about 40% (Hornweg; Bhada-Tato, 2012 S. 8-15). 

Where does the waste originated in the sea?

20% come from shipping, fisheries, offshore installations and leisure shipping but 80% originate from onshore (Andrady A. L. 2011).

Why does so much waste end up in the oceans?

Because more than 50% of all countries cannot afford the costs for a sustainable waste management.


Only if we succeed in developing a sustainable global waste management system we can stop this trashing process ashore and in the seas.

Estimations of plastic quantities entering the oceans vary depending on sources from 6,5 up to 28 billion t per year (Rochman et al. 2013).

Meanwhile, the sea has become the largest garbage depot in the world. More than 100 million t (predominantly plastics) are in our oceans, and due to the currents the enormous Great Pacific Garbage Patches have developed, which has a surface extent to the size of Europe.

Marine mammals, seabirds, fish, crustaceans and turtles are most vulnerable to the risks posed by Marine litter.

And these wastes - in particular plastics and micro plastics – reach also into the food chain (Rochman et al. 2013).

Plastic has a rotting duration of up to 400 years. 

Island regions, villages and cities at riverbanks:

Especially on small islands with large tourism sector, without a sustainable waste management (MBT, WTE) and recycling plants, the proper disposal of waste is an economic and logistical challenge.

Hardly any island state can handle and afford a modern waste Management according to European standard. Instead, if any waste collection exists at all, waste is dumped on wild, open landfills where it is burned under the open sky. Or oceans are used as dumpsters!

These practices can lead to a ecological disaster with serious global effects on climate. And the Tourism as the only source of income will be past.

With this background the entrepreneur and shipbuilder Dirk Lindenau - Kiel, Germany - developed and projected with support of the German federal foundation of environment DBU and a team of German specialists the concept of a Waste-Recycling-Ship. By this a unique network of specialists from the German Maritime industry and the environmental industry could be founded by Dirk Lindenau.


“Our investigations and research over the last five years have shown that recycling ships are the ideal solution for the afore mentioned problem. Because ships are the safest, most economical and most environmentally friendly means of transport in the world”

From our point of view, the Waste Recycling Ship Concept developed by us, offers one of the most efficient and most economical and thus sustainable solutions for the global waste management challenge. (D. Lindenau)

The WRS-Concept is a worldwide unique waste management solution for island states and large cities at rivers and coastlines. The concept comprises of the conversion in German shipyards and by installing German waste technology to operate the Waste-Recycling-Ships.

We want to develop with those countries that are interested in this solution an intensive partnership. Within the framework of an operational- and financial engineering we will significantly improve the waste management as described.

Furthermore each customer country is provided with a customized operating and financing concept to guarantee an economic waste management for each individual country.

We estimate a worldwide demand of more than 1.000 ships!

Education and local jobs:

Regarding the Waste Recycling Ship concept for the Cap Verde Island some 200 new Jobs can be provided. And this is just one example region!

Together wit the German Waste management – Training center (AWA) people will be trained and certified in Germany and will be offered a qualified job by the WRS-Concept.

On island states like the Philippines consisting of 1.107 Islands, it is not possible for economic reasons to install mechanical-biological treatment technology plants (MBT) for a modern waste management on each island.


Our Concept provides a ship-based solution: That means the MBT Plant comes to every island!

In order to permanently sort and treat the waste according to the mechanical biological treatment plant a complex logistical concept based on ships has to be provided.

The waste collection and supply ship is collecting all the waste which is picked up in each port of the islands. Within the route-planning concept this ship collects all the waste and supplies cargo to all involved islands of the entire country. During its round trip the waste is permanently unloaded to the central based waste sorting ship.

The concept of the Waste-Recycling-Ship, WRS connects the ecological advantages with the economic possibilities and creates a Win-Win situation for both, the involved island and the international community.

Feasibility study:

The feasibility study for a Waste-Recycling-Ship e.g. on the Maldives islands, promoted by the German federal foundation environment DBU, proves that in particular for island states a ship-bound solution for a waste management is indispensable. Only by the ship in particular the logistic problem of island states is solvable. Only with a ship the waste, which develops on all islands, can be systematically collected, can be separated on board during loading and the round trip and in the main port again unloaded and further processed in a mechanical biological treatment plant.

Such mechanical separation plant are proven technology and their employment is now also on ships technical and economically possible.

Apart from the technical and economic questions in particular also the logistic challenges could be solved. 

Here we could develop and project an entire waste management concept (from the collection to the recycling and/or energetic use), with which the disposal achievements of the ship could be connected optimally with supply achievements. (Waste to energy, WTE) This contributed substantially to the economy of the concept.

The following scheme represents the overall “Waste Recycling Ship” concept for the Cape Verde Islands:


Altogether we can offer a key turn solution for an innovative waste management according to cycle economy with the waste recycling ship concept:

For most island states the tourism strengthening plays a key role for the future prospect. Therefore the realization of a modern waste management is very important for further development of the tourism.

The WRS concept contains a modern, efficient collecting system: The complete maritime bound mobile sorting equipment, which makes use of the sorted materials to production biogas and compost (fermentation of organic fraction) as well as the use of all remaining parliamentary groups according to the cycle economy (MBT & WTE). 

The conversion of this concept takes place via the change from existing cargo ships in accordance with Lindenau specification on German shipyards. This project is classified by the classification company DNVGL. Additional the ships receive the class sign “Blue Angel” for its outstanding environmental protection.

A goal of Lindenau modern waste management concept is the regulatory collection of the wastes, the separation of the wastes on board of special ships and to make use of these materials as resources. 

And this waste recycling ship concept will also provide a substantial contribution to climate protection by significant reductions of the CO2 equivalents and environmental protection by a permanent avoidance of exhaust gases and ground water impurities. 

With the employment of the Waste-Recycling-Ship it will be possible to develop a waste management according the setting standards developed and applied in Germany and in the European Union. 

Successfully the economically important use of secondary raw materials can be attained when simultaneous improvement of the environmental and climatic balance by waste recycling is reached: Thus for example in Germany 1990 the waste economy loaded the climate with emissions of approximately 38,6 million t CO2 equivalent.

Today Germany the emissions could be reduced to approximately 18 million t CO2 equivalent.

This success “Made in Germany” could be reached only by the development and installation of most modern integrated waste management technology (Umweltbundesamt UBA 2012).

Emissions into our atmosphere through open garbage depots reach the annual amount of over 13% of the global Greenhouse gases GHG.

On board the “Waste Recycling Ship” 3 main fraction-groups will be produced by the Mechanical treatment technology: 

1. The organic fraction group is converted by a fermentation process into bio gas and compost. The bio gas is converted in a gas-operated power-heat-coupling plant to electric power and heat.

2. The light fraction group is likewise converted in a power-heat-coupling plant to electric power and heat (WTE). With this concept we can produce from the resources waste, urgently needed water, compost and electricity. And both are produced at very economical conditions.

3. The heavy fraction group shall be loaded in containers and sold as valuable material for further recycling. (Metal, electronic components and electric basic materials like copper etc.)

Financial perspectives of the modern waste management with the Lindenau WRS concept

The biggest challenges for a waste management concept are the associated costs.

If one understands however waste as resources, one can recognize that valuable material can be gained from waste. 

In the best case the selling of these valuable materials can cover all costs that are connected with the treatment and processing of waste.

Two developments have to be considered: 
The pricing for many raw materials and energy rises worldwide continuously.

The cost of waste treatment processes sink by continues technical advancement.

This development will continue further, so that soon the point will be reached, where income being generated through the waste recycling ship concept is clearly higher than capital- and operating cost. In the consequence recycling of waste for nearly all wastes can become an economically interesting field of activity.

In order to advance this development, the European Union and Germany introduced the producer responsibility for many wastes. This means, the manufacturer or reseller of a product is also responsible for the product being recycled.

With the WRS concept we take over the task of product cancelling and recycling for manufacturers and resellers.
It is intended that we transfer within the framework of a Private, public partnership concept (PPP) the recycling responsibility of the producers against a payment. 

This way such model should be feasible in all countries. 

We are convinced that we developed a contribution for a more sustainable world with the waste recycling ship concept!

References and sources:

Andrady A. L. 2011, „Microplastics in the marine environment“ Marine Pollution Bulletin 62 (2011) S. 1596- 1605

Britannica 2007: river-in-Jakarta-Indon (17.03.15)

Dehoust G., Dr. Schüler D., Vogt R., Giegrich J. (Klimaschutzpotentiale der Abfallwirtschaft Öko Institut im Auftrag UBA,BMU und BDE, 2010)

Hoornweg, D.& Bhada-Tata. What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management (World Bank, März 2012 Nr. 15).

Hoornweg. D., Bhada-Tata. P., Kennedy, C. (2013): Waste production must peak this century. Nature 502, S. 615-617.

International Maritime Organization London UK, April 2009: Second IMO GHG Study Statista: 2015. (16.03.15)

Umweltbundesamt UBA (2012): Nationaler Inventarbericht zum deutschen Treibhausgasinventar 1990- 2010, Dessau-Roßlau, S. 571 ff.

Rochman, C.M., Browne, M.A., Halpern, B.S., Hentschel, B.T., Hoh, E., Karapanagioti, H.K., Rios- Mendoza, L.M., Takada, H., Tee, S., Thompson, R.C. (2013): Policy: Classify plastic waste as hazardous. Nature 494(7436), S. 169–71.

Waste Atlas. /global waste clock (20.02.2015)

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