Sweden Wants Your Trash

One of Many Trash Piles_4467c

Sweden Wants Your Trash : Move over Abba, Sweden has found new fame. The small Nordic country is breaking records — in waste. Sweden’s program of generating energy from garbage is wildly successful, but recently its success has also generated a surprising issue: There is simply not enough trash.

Only 4 percent of Swedish garbage ends up in a landfill, according to Swedish Waste Management. Due to its efficiency in converting waste to renewable energy, Sweden has recently begun importing around 800,000 tons of trash annually from other countries. (via NPR.)

This is nice. Awesome even.  But only for now, as a kind of stopgap.  There is simply no way that the energy which Sweden gets from the waste comes anywhere close to the energy used in making that trash (and transporting it to Sweden).

Sweden’s trash importing only makes sense in a world where too much trash is produced, and countries are running out of landfill and other disposal options.

There are – or should be – concerns about pollution and toxics, though Sweden being Sweden I’m sure they’ve addressed this fairly adequately.

But even so, no one should be lulled into thinking this is anything other than an emergency measure for a crazy, unsustainable time.

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