How Sweden Plans To Turn The World's Trash Into Cash!

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At a time when most countries are struggling to figure out where to dump all the trash that is generated on a daily basis, Sweden is turning the other cheek - They want more trash. In fact so badly that they plan to import 800,000 tons of it from other countries. Intrigued? Read on . . .

In the 1940's, when most of the world had never even considered building a recycling plant, this progressive country began a program to incinerate their garbage and turn it into energy. While this initially released harmful toxins into the atmosphere, over the years, the country has perfected the technique so much that these have now been reduced to minuscule levels!

Meanwhile, the energy produced by these plants has steadily increased so that today, it generates enough energy to provide heat to about 20% or 810,000 Swedish households and electricity to 250,000. And, it gets better.

Thanks to intense public awareness messages, strict laws and an amazingly conscientious population, only 4% of all Swedish trash ends up in a landfill. In contrast 63% of the trash generated in the USA ends up in landfills!

However all this 'greenness' has resulted in a rather unique problem. While its incinerator plants have the capacity to process up to 2 million tons of household trash each year, it doesn't not enough raw material! Hence, the decision to import other people's trash - Something that is definitely not in short supply anywhere else in the world.

Neighboring Norway has already begun sending their garbage, while Bulgaria, Romania and Italy are seriously considering the proposition too. All in all, Sweden expects to import 800,000 tons each year. They are of course charging heftily for this 'import' - But we somehow think there will not be much haggling over the cost!

Now, if only all the countries could line up to learn how the Swedes were able to do what none of us can or really want to do, innocent marine animals would not have to deal with our plastic bags, bottles and everything else we dump in the oceans.

Resources: wired.co.uk, inhabitat.com, npr.org.

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418 Comments
  • MinjiTuesday, November 14, 2017 at 8:46 am
    Why Must People be MEAN TO THE OCEAN?
    • LilySunday, April 23, 2017 at 10:42 am
      The turtle has a point
      • numinous pig Friday, February 17, 2017 at 7:21 am
        this is amazing the world wont have as much trash and will make the world last much longer
        • AllanTuesday, October 18, 2016 at 2:37 am
          this should stop
          • dekoveromu
            dekoveromuMonday, December 14, 2015 at 9:49 am
            The turtle in the picture is right why do people trash the ocean I don't think that you would like people trashing your home so why would you trash theirs. I would never trash the ocean. Sweden is really trying to help make less garbage be in the world.
            • canolehefo
              canolehefoMonday, December 14, 2015 at 9:48 am
              I like the part when the turtle says I don,t trash your home so you don,t trash mine I think that is a big hint about recycling for example don,t throw paper in the garbage put it in recycling and don,t put plastic bottles in the garbage or in the recycling put it in something seprate and DO NOT LITTER EVER!! because if you litter that is going in to the ocean and it will rap around an animals neck and kill them. Remember reduce reuse RECYCLE!!!!!!!!!!!!
              • kubatubinu
                kubatubinuMonday, December 14, 2015 at 9:44 am
                I like how Sweden has strict laws to make sure that there not wasting as much as they could be because if they did there country would be like ours. I also like the diagram with the turtle saying, "I don't trash your home don't trash mine". Liked the video too!
                • mykelaberu
                  mykelaberuMonday, December 14, 2015 at 9:40 am
                  This is a nice way to take care of trash. Sweden uses a amazing nice way to take care of there garbage by recycling a throwing out there garbage correctly.
                  • ximehopara
                    ximehoparaMonday, December 14, 2015 at 9:38 am
                    I think people shouldn't throw garbage on the groud because it could get in to the ocean and the animals might think it's food and might try to eat it.
                    • pihefywiby
                      pihefywibyMonday, December 14, 2015 at 9:37 am
                      This article was very informative about how Sweden tuned their garbage into money. That will save a LOT of our natural resources. Such as trees, animals, oceans, and rivers. This is an amazing project. Great job Sweden!