Sweden has a few claims to fame that the U.S. simply can't compete with, namely Ikea, the Nobel Prize, and a historical avoidance of war. (Oh, and meatballs. Mmm.) But now it can add "emergency trash imports" to the list, because the country is running dangerously low on household and industrial waste.
According to the country's Waste Management site, two million tons of waste is converted to heat and electricity each year, with only 4% of the nation's trash ending up in landfills. But it's not enough:
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.
Norway is now paying Sweden to take its garbage. Swedish sights are also set on Bulgaria, Romania and Italy as future trash exporters, as Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the country's environmental protection agency, told PRI. Those countries rely heavily on landfills – a highly inefficient and environmentally degrading system.
Compare this to the United States, which recycles about 34% of the 250 million tons of trash generated per year. The majority of the rest is landfilled.
I don't know about you guys, but I have plenty of trash I could sell to Sweden. Give me a call; I'll pull my bin back from the curb.