Nordhavn is growing, and this means there is basis for a new local recycling centre in the Århusgade area. The ambitious project for the Nordhavn redevelopment needs a recycling centre that can meet these ambitions. The new local recycling centre will become a social meeting place for the local society and a centre for recycling and exchange of ideas and experience regarding recycling. In this recycling centre, waste will be seen as a resource. In practice, this means that there will be lectures, flea markets and workshops for repairing broken things.

Effective waste sorting is the most important prerequisite for effective recycling. Therefore, it is relevant to make waste sorting more user friendly and instructive. At local recycling centre Nordhavn, the waste handling will be intuitive and at the same time an exhibition of the possibilities that recycling and reuse offer.


Recycling plant

400 m²

Denmark, Copenhagen


Københavns Kommune


Per Hagemann Rådgivende Ingeniører

Pelcon Material Testing





Partner in charge: Anders Lendager

Project Leader: Jonas Vistesen

Employees: Christian Brøgger, Liam Marosy-Weide, Mrunal Panchal

The Material Wall

The material wall is the curved wall that welcomes visitors to the recycling centre. Though it looks like an artwork built of waste, it also has a practical function showing visitors how to dispose of their waste correctly. The material wall is divided into the different fractions of materials that are recycled behind it – so if you have plastic to recycle, you just need to find the wall made of plastic and go through the opening. Got some old pains of worn jeans – just go to the wall made of textile, it’s as easy as that. In this way, the material wall acts as a very low tech and intuitive wayfinding system for the visitors.

When the recycling centre is unmanned, it will still be open to the public. The containers will be locked, but there is still a hole in each material wall that you can throw your waste through, landing in a container behind.

The Swap Shelf

The swap shelf is the flexible centre of the recycling centre. The shelves can be used by users of the centre to hand in things that are still functional or just need a bit of repair. The repairs take place in the workshop of the centre – on site refurbishment saves a lot of resources!

The swap allows for many different configurations that permit various activities at the centre. In the centre of the swap shelf there is a seating area, making it possible to hold lectures about recycling or teaching school classes about the processes that the waste goes through before it can become a valuable resource again.

Parts of the swap shelf are mounted with wheels and can be moved out onto the square in front of the recycling centre, thereby creating a more prominent interface to the local environment.


In Denmark we have an efficient recycling system which saves the environment from being polluted from things that aren’t needed any longer. But for the system to work optimally, it’s important that materials are sorted correctly to ensure a consistent quality of recycled materials. In Nordhavn the sorting of waste fractions will become an intuitive matter, since the spaces for each material are built of the materials themselves.

The aim of the local recycling centre in Nordhavn is to create a place where waste handling is as effective and easy as possible for the users, thus increasing the value of the material fractions generated here.


The new recycling centre will become a natural hub for recycling related activites in Nordhavn. People can learn more about the environment, waste, upcycling etc. and within the manned opening hours it is possible to ask the staff about anything related to recycling.

Since the walls of the recycling centre are made of waste the place itself will become a physical manifestation of how waste materials gathered at recycling centres can be transformed into new materials with a higher value.


The walls of the recycling centre are made of different waste fractions, and since these walls will be specially produced for this project, new jobs will be created in the process, as well as showing that there are viable possibilities in using waste as building material.

The workshops integrated into the centre will make it possible to repair broken things from people’s homes, not only saving the environment from a lot of unnecessary waste, but also allowing locals to meet each other and exchange knowledge about recycling and repair.