Waste and sewage

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NORWAY’S ONLY DIRECT DISCHARGE SOLUTION FOR LARGE CRUISE SHIPS. Port of Oslo, together with the Water and Sewerage Authority, has established a simple connection for discharging greywater and sewage to the city's treatment plant. Samples are taken annually and analyzed for heavy metals. In other Norwegian ports, shipping lines must order a septic truck to receive sewage. Photo: Klaus Sandvik
A sustainable port sorts and recycles waste and materials.

Sorting and recycling help reduce costs. Waste is a resource. Wastewater, for example, can be a source of biogas for transport. Industries with circular solutions, which include some of the port's customers, use maritime transport. The port can improve its ability to recirculate waste from operations.

Waste from ships

Port of Oslo is responsible for ensuring the proper handling and delivery of waste from ships. This includes a broad variety of waste from many different types of vessels. To manage waste effectively, the port needs to work with suppliers who provide good service and flexible solutions. 

Cruise ships are the largest dischargers of waste in Port of Oslo. They pay a fixed fee for waste disposal, based on the number of passengers.

The port accepts a variety of waste from ships with additional charges applied for discharging specific types of hazardous waste. Some shippers are better at sorting waste than others. All residual waste from ships is incinerated and used for energy recovery. Port of Oslo has published a pictorial guide to encourage shippers to sort more of their waste.

Waste along the harbor promenade

During the summer months, Port of Oslo empties the garbage bins along the harbor promenade more often. Despite this extra effort, garbage litters the waterways. The Urban Environment Agency reports similar challenges at swimming sites throughout the municipality.

In 2020, Port of Oslo launched a fully electric environmental boat, Pelikan 2, specially designed to collect floating waste. The boat makes a daily environmental circuit and removes floating waste from the harbor’s waterways.

Oslo Havns nye miljøbåt Pelikan 2.
THE WORLD'S FIRST ELECTRIC ENVIRONMENTAL BOAT OF ITS KIND. Pelikan 2 collects waste from the harbor and has become an attraction in the port. Photo: H.K. Riise


Floating garbage bins that suck in plastic and other types of garbage have been installed along the quays. The port sees an opportunity to harvest seaweed and kelp for biogas production but has yet to find a solution to turn opportunity into reality.

FLOATING GARBAGE BINS. In the summer, bins at the town hall pier are emptied daily. Photo: Trude Thingelstad    


To help fulfill Oslo Municipality's, Action plan to combat plastic in Oslo Fjord 2019-2020, Port of Oslo is phasing out its use of disposable plastic, prioritizing repairs and reuse, and using Pelikan 2 to remove floating waste from the harbor. The action plan focuses on collecting plastic and aims to stop plastic waste from entering the harbor and Oslo Fjord.

RECYCLING CHALLENGE. A smart bottle holder on the harbor's garbage bins provides the opportunity to donate the bottle deposit fee. Photo: Marthe Landsem


Maritime sewage and wastewater

Sewage and nutrient salts from land reduce oxygen in the water. All life, including underwater life, needs oxygen. Collaboration with the Water and Sewerage Authority and the Council for Water and Sewage Technology contributes to cleaner water in the fjord.

National regulations forbid the discharge of sewage within 300 meters of the shore. Municipalities may choose to adopt stricter requirements.  Nesodden municipality, for example, does not allow any sewage to be discharged in its waterways.

Cruise ships clean their sewage on board. The newest ships can convert seawater to drinking water.

Port of Oslo has installed discharge solutions for cruise ships and charter boats berthing at Søndre Akershuskai. Effective sewage handling solutions in the port can contribute to increased discharge of sewage. Port of Oslo will increase capacity to handle sewage as quays are upgraded. Oslo Port Control accepts orders for sewage discharge and wastewater in Port of Oslo.

HUNDRED-YEAR-OLD PIER RENEWED. Rådhusbrygge 2 was named Norway's best outdoor space In 2019. The pier’s original stones were restored and re-laid in the same arch pattern as when it was first built. Benches along the pier house water, electric, and sewage connections for charter boats. Photo: Tove Lauluten


Reuse of materials

Port of Oslo will focus on reusing materials, everything from cobblestones to office furniture.

The port will reuse furniture when its headquarters, Skur 38, is renovated in 2022. A digital portal, Workplace, was used to host flea markets, and facilitate the donation of furniture and equipment to people in the municipality.

- The easiest thing would have been to order a dumpster and be done with it. That is not sustainable and therefore unacceptable for Port of Oslo. This relocation project has shown us that with effort and imagination it is possible to reuse most things, says Åsa Nes, Property Director, Port of Oslo.

Waste and wastemanagement

Environmental goals for waste and waste management:

Goal 15: Sort 90% of waste in Port of Oslo by 2025

Goal 17: Increase capacity to receive sewage from ships by 2030


Goal 15: The average amount of sorted waste in 2020 was 90%. Cruise ship calls were reduced due to Covid-19. Additional cruise calls may increase the share of sorted waste. Approximately 30-40% of waste from cruise ships is sorted. Health regulations require food waste to be incinerated, and not used for biogas production.

Goal 17: In 2017, the facility was tested by discharging 6,000 cubic meters of wastewater from cruise ships. In the past two years, 3,000 and 2,000 cubic meters of wastewater were discharged at Port of Oslo. Discharge solutions have been built for charter boats at Rådhusbrygge 2 and Akershusutstikkeren. These were tested but not used in 2020.