While most countries in the world are struggling to develop a practical plan to solve the problem of waste management, Sweden, on the other hand, is facing a different issue altogether, the question of running out of trash to recycle!
Sweden manages to generate and support half of its electricity needs just by burning its waste goods.
In the last decades, this Scandinavian country has developed an outstanding waste recycling system. It is estimated that only 1 percent of Sweden’s household garbage is sent to landfills. The rest is either reused or recycled in one way or the other.
All households are expected to segregate their reusable and recyclable waste from their wet compostable waste before dumping.
For ensuring waste management at the grass-root level, all Swedish localities have been allotted recycling stations merely 300 meters away. The Swedish municipality has also invested in technologies like Automatic vacuum cleaning systems and underground container systems. They also took care of unused medication disposal.
Owing to the Swedish population’s remarkable recycling habits and the government’s consistent efforts, the citizens are unable to produce enough burnable waste to keep its incineration plants running.
This has compelled the country to import around 2.7 million tons of garbage from other European countries. To keep the plants running, the waste has been imported from Norway and England. These countries pay Sweden to incinerate and produce electricity and heat from the waste.
50 percent of the Swedish household waste is sent to incineration plants where it’s burnt to produce energy. Thus, making ‘waste’ a cheaper energy alternative for Sweden.
The smoke from the incinerating plants consists of 99.9 percent nontoxic carbon dioxide and water. After dry filtration, they get converted to sludge. This sludge is later used to refill abandoned mines.
After incineration, the ashes are carefully examined for any leftover recyclable metal or plastic pieces. Under Sweden’s meticulous recycling policy, several private firms are also known to have taken up the business of importing. This waste is burnt to produce heat. This heat is supplied via the national heating network to keep Swedish households warm during harsh winters.
Thus, Sweden has become one of the first countries to actively strive towards reducing their carbon footprint and making conscious environment-friendly decisions. Today, its environment-friendly stance is inspiring other countries to adopt and develop a more sustainable and greener way of living.