INDEPENDENT NEWS & MEDIA
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Sweden runs out of garbage, forced to import from other countries
Apparently, Sweden has run out of garbage and have now been forced to import rubbish from other countries to keep its
state-of-the-art recycling plants going.
The Scandinavian country’s recycling system is so sophisticated that only less than 1 per cent of its household waste has
been sent to landfill last year.
The country sources almost half its electricity from renewables.
“Swedish people are quite keen on being out in nature and they are
aware of what we need do on nature and environmental issues. We
worked on communications for a long time to make people aware not
to throw things outdoors so that we can recycle and reuse,” said Anna-
Carin Gripwall, director of communications for Avfall Sverige, the
Swedish Waste Management’s recycling association.
Sweden, which was one of the first countries to implement a heavy tax
on fossil fuels in 1991, has implemented a cohesive national recycling
policy so that even though private companies undertake most of the
business of importing and burning waste, the energy goes into a
national heating network to heat homes through the extremely cold
“That’s a key reason that we have this district network, so we can
make use of the heating from the waste plants. In the southern part of
Europe they don’t make use of the heating from the waste, it just goes
out the chimney. Here we use it as a substitute for fossil fuel,” Gripwell
was quoted as saying by the Independent.
“There’s a ban on landfill in European Union countries, so instead of
paying the fine they send it to us as a service. They should and will
build their own plants, to reduce their own waste, as we are working
hard to do in Sweden,” Gripwall said.
“Hopefully there will be less waste and the waste that has to go to
incineration should be incinerated in each country. But to use
recycling for heating you have to have district heating or cooling
systems, so you have to build the infrastructure for that, and that
takes time,” she added.
Swedish municipalities are investing in futuristic waste collection
techniques, like automated vacuum systems in residential blocks,
removing the need for collection transport, and underground
container systems that free up road space and get rid of any smells,
the report said.