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Sweden Is Running Out of Garbage

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.

Link | UN Photo/Evan Schneider


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Who in the world is cynical enough to criticize Sweden for using it's garbage to create renewable energy? Why aren't we clamoring to become like them, to let go of our addiction to oil and coal and embrace a less wasteful way of life?
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Sweden is not paying for garbage!!! Sweden is efficiently recycling and processing its garbage, so it's got room in its landfills, and is charging other countries to process their garbage for them. Either I can't read or the OP and commentors can't read...
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Also, Sweden has a population of 10 million while the population of greater Los Angeles alone is 16.5 million. A bit of perspective is in order when comparing the habits of 10 million people occupying 173,000 sq. miles against those of 311 million people inhabiting 3.8 million sq. miles. Just sayin'
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