Sweden’s Recycling is so Revolutionary, the Country is Running Out of Trash Sweden’s Recycling is so Revolutionary, the Country is Running Out of Trash

Sweden’s Recycling is so Revolutionary, the Country is Running Out of Trash

by Sara Barnes Nov 14, 2016

When it comes to recycling, Sweden sets an example for the rest of the world. Thanks to a government prioritization on sustainability, the Nordic country recycles 1.5 billion bottles and cans annually, a staggering amount for a population of about 9.6 million (in 2013). In terms of rubbish, Swedes only produce a measly 461 kilograms (1,106 pounds) of waste average per year—less than 1% of discard ends up in landfills. This is slightly below the half-ton average in the rest of Europe.

Fastidious Recycling Has Unusual Drawbacks

This impressive commitment to an eco-friendly world has a bizarre effect on electricity production. Sweden participates in a waste-to-energy (WTE) program, and they have 32 of these special plants. If you’re unfamiliar with this unique form of energy production, here’s how it works: furnaces are loaded with garbage and burned to generate steam. This newly-produced gas is then used to spin generator turbines and produce electricity, transferred to transmission lines and the power grid. By using this approach, the country is able to reduce toxins that seep into the ground. “When waste sits in landfills, leaking methane gas and other greenhouse gasses, it is obviously not good for the environment” Swedish Waste Management communications director Anna-Carin Gripwell explained in a statement.

Before incinerating garbage, it’s first filtered by home and business owners. Things that can be recycled are separated (such as food scraps and paper products), and anything that can be salvaged is set aside. Because would-be waste is carefully examined, it leaves relatively little for the WTE program. As a result, Sweden imports garbage from the UK, Italy, Norway, and Ireland to ensure they stay up and running.

Trash incinerator

Don’t Trash It, Repair It!

Sweden continues to think of innovative ways to stay green. “We feel that we have responsibility to act responsibly in this area and try to reduce our ecological footprint,” states Per Bolund, Swedish Finance and Consumption Minister in a video for AJ+. “The consumers are really showing that the want to make a difference and what we’re trying to do from the government’s side is to help them act, making it easier to behave in a sustainable way.”

One proposed approach rejects the Western practice of throwing things away all together. Things that would normally see their way to a trash bin—such as clothing, shoes, or bicycles—would instead be repaired. The burden, however, would not be put on the owner of these well-worn goods (not everyone can mend a jacket, afterall), but would give way for new employment opportunities. There’s room in the labor market for people that can fix things. These are skilled jobs that can be intellectually stimulating but don’t require a very high level of education, so people can enter the job force in a matter of months rather than years.

Of course, people would still be able to buy things that won’t be able to be repaired—but it’ll cost them. Taxes would be imposed on these items to incentivise consumers in purchasing items with a long life ahead of them.


Cover picture credit: Brian Cliff Olguin for The New York Times.

  • Warren Winter

    Did they change how much a ton weighs? ‘Swedes only produce a measly 461 kilograms (1,106 pounds) of waste average per year—less than 1% of discard ends up in landfills. This is slightly below the half-ton average in the rest of Europe.’
    1 Ton = 2000 lbs
    one half ton = 1000 lbs
    1106 is not less than 1000

  • Javier Villegas

    The US is basically in the stone age compared to this.. & now it’s about to get even worse..

    • MzUnGu

      The Swedes burns most of their trash. What so advance about that, I used to have neighbors that do the same when we were kids..

      • Kenny

        In nordic countries we burn the trash yes, but we are gaining 3 things in the process. We are getting rid of the trash, heat-energy for district heating system and electricity. I tnink its quite advanced. – Nordic citizen

        • Gustavo Dreyer

          How about CO² emissions as a result of burning the trash? How you handle it? thanks.

          • xlr8r

            The smoke from incineration plants consists of 99.9 per cent non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, but is still filtered through dry filters and water. The dry filters are deposited. The sludge from the dirty filter water is used to refill abandoned mines.

          • argus

            you answered my question

          • MzUnGu

            I think the Swede will welcome the warming of their tundra and longer growing season, maybe that’s why they are all for it.

          • ycajunorg

            This post is nonsense – Sweden is a leading country in reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions.

          • Kjetil Kjernsmo

            Oslo’s plant has just concluded a CO2 capture experiment, in which they captured 90% of the emitted CO2. They are now working to incorporate that into the production system, but it is not yet clear how that will be done at the required scale. One option is to build a short pipeline down to the harbor, where it can be shipped off to the North Sea, where it can be inserted into rocks that have been squeezed for oil, or to extract more oil… From the few things that have been said about it, they are hoping there will be a market for captured CO2, as it has many applications. Most existing applications as of today will release the CO2 to the atmosphere eventually, so there is still a long way to go. It could play a big role in synthetic processes where oil is used today, like to make plastics.

            (note, the 2 in CO2 is a subscript, not a superscript, but that’s harder to do from a conventional keyboard)

          • frankly2

            They don’t want to use clean stack technology here in the US because it would remove the need for solar and wind development.

          • Carol Fredette

            No, it wouldn’t. We have too many people and will need any extra type of energy in different areas of the country. There’s a big difference between 9 million people and 275

          • Tundramoss

            Methane has a much much higher greenhouse effect than C02 does.

          • frankly2

            Clean stack technology removes this problem. Of course we don’t subsidize the development of that because then we could also burn coal and the enviros don’t want us to have a cheaper form of energy because we would consume more.

        • Geoff

          what type of trash are you burning? there is a big problem with this around dioxins so hoping you guys are well on top of this too!

        • frankly2

          People have proposed doing it here since the 1960s but it has been fought by the environmentalists who think that conservation is better. Cheaper energy and a simply solution like waste to energy don’t discourage consumption like the left wing enviros want to do here. For them it is both environmental and social reform.

          • Rachel Raccoon

            The only reason the ‘enviros’ want conservation is to reduce the rate at which the climate is warming. High use = high emissions = increased warming. It’s not about controlling you or treating you like a child. If there were no waste/emissions from whatever the method (except for fracking and oil which have additional environmental problems like earthquakes, leaks, spills and the devastating effects on wildlife, etc). And until people stop saying ‘enviros’ like it’s a BAD thing to be concerned about the health and well being of the planet and every living thing on it, the problems will NEVER be fully addressed/rectified. We’re all on this planet TOGETHER, and we should all be EQUALLY concerned!

      • Cynthia Reed

        Read this. It’s NOT like burning the trash when we were kids. “Nordic-Aryan worshipping”? What a ridiculous statement.

        • MzUnGu

          It’s not the same, but could be worse. The ash produced are often so toxic, it need to be disposed in a specialized toxic waste landfill.

          • Keni Peltonen

            Ash is bad yes, but we are already processing ash also, it can be re-used in chemical industry. – Nordic citizen

          • Javier Villegas

            Were your neighbors converting the burnt trash into energy to heat or cool their home, to run a washing machine or watch tv? If not then that comment is irrelevant.

          • Mike Doverskog

            Slag from the combustion makes up 15-20% by weight of the material burnt and filtrate from smoke another 3-5%.
            After removing large objects and metals the slag is stabilized and turned into slag gravel which is used in construction, particularly road building. Much effort goes into ensuring that slag gravel does not pose any risk to people or the environment.
            Smoke filtrates are stabilized and either deposited in landfill or disused mines.

      • seirios

        I think you got the facts wrong. If you look at the map and not the list at the bottom of the article, you will see that many European countries recycle around or over 50% of their waste, while the US massively lags behind with 34%. Truth be told, some Eastern and Southern European countries are even below that rate…

        Here, a more detailed and reliable source:

        So no, it’s not Nordic-Aryan worshiping… If anything, it’s green worshiping, and Sweden is a good example that you can go green and not lose productivity. Everything can be solved, it only takes creativity and innovation. The US used to be in the vanguard of creativity and innovation, but now all it cares about is desperately maintaining its economic dominance with an outdated approach. Shame, the world would need America to be the leader of the pack in environmentalism, but instead of investing in its future, it breaks off the mainstream and locks itself into the past.

        • wrathfulcerebum

          I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone nail it like you did these last two sentences. And it’s not just in environmentalism – it’s in lots of things. Really sad. 🙁

        • MzUnGu

          This study u pointed out only covers “municipal waste”, which is generally 10% of the total waste that country generate … The realities is,it’s nowhere near 50% as claimed.

          • Mike Doverskog

            In 2015 2,284,210 tons (metric) of domestic (municipal) waste was used for energy production. 3,491,190 tons of other, mostly industrial waste was also used along with 1,328,500 tons of imported waste mainly from Norway, Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

      • pellicle

        > I used to have neighbors that do the same when we were kids….

        well the difference is that the combustion temperature will be MUCH higher in the Swedish furnace than at your neighbours fire … so the pollution levels will vary from toxic (your neighbour) and filled with dioxins (cancer forming) to clean combustion and actually harvesting that energy to heat places (not your back yard)

      • Mike Doverskog

        Seriously? You base your research on a top-list clickbait site? Who are you? Donald Trump?

      • Munch Erstling
      • Tundramoss

        I’m sure the burning is done at higher temperatures ensuring more complete combustion than your neighbors smoky burn barrel. Also, the energy is being put to use rather than just making your neighbors’ hung out laundry stink.

        • Piotr Barczak ♲

          Please! how more incineration in the instalations can stop those who burn in a barel from doing it? How? It can’t ! They will continue burning it in a barrel, even if the plant is nearby!

    • Dawn Appelberg

      Yes we happen to be wasteful here. There are a lot of things we could change. However I think having teenagers being allowed to revolt in the streets over an election they had no participation in outweighs the need to recycle right now. We need to get a grip on reality first, have half the country grow the hell up and stop acting like they are mental – then we can move forward to figruing out carbon footprints.

      • johnnyhassle

        Yes, if only it wasn’t for some high school students walking out of class, we could start recycling!


      • It shows that the teenagers are smarter and more concerned about the future than those fools that voted for Trump. To be fair, he has done something I thought was impossible. Already, he has made George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter look like good presidents.

    • JesseC

      Minneapolis does this. The garbage burner is conveniently downtown next to Target Field.

      • Zen

        Did do it, until the EPA shut them down in early 2000’s

    • Shut-up

      Like it was getting any better. Get off it. SMH…..

    • ExPatAlaskan

      True. And it’s lonely here that’s why out Neanderthal leaders keep wanting to bomb the rest of the world back into the Stone Age

    • Smarmalicious

      Native swedes are for the most part highly cooperative and well behaved. You can have a system in place like this when you have a population that values its community. The problem with bringing something like this over to America is, how are you going to get the animals in Chicago and Detroit to separate their garbage? In Sweden if you don’t separate your garbage then it won’t get picked up, in the s&*%holes of America you’re lucky if trash makes it into a trash bin, if we imposed the same rules as Sweden, nothing would ever be collected, ever. And the inner-city animals would be just fine with letting it pile up around them.

      • Coralislands

        get a picture of it… In 20 years Sweden will cease to exist in any recognizable form. They have welcomed a cancer… Called Islam. Read up on Malmo… Better, google Malmo and hand grenades.. Do it… See what comes back.

        • Smarmalicious

          That’s interesting, wonder who’s supplying all those hand grenades

  • Harry Withana

    Hope Sri Lanka can get help from Sweden

  • Piotr Barczak ♲

    1% go to landfills??!?! Why they do not count hte ashes from incineration in? they also go to landfills – specialised and expensifve disposal. I remind: between 20-30% of the initial input to the incinerator becomes an output in ashes.

    • Did you just make up that number or is it real? Seems high. I would guess it’s much lower than 20% but could be wrong.

      • Piotr Barczak ♲

        This is usual for incinerators. Google will tell you.

        • Ah yes, the good old “google it” instead of actually linking to a factual source. Good one.

    • Åke Forsmark

      If I understand it correctly 15-20 % remains but most of it can be reprocessed – we get some metals and other stuff out of it. So it actually should be something like 1% left that can’t be used.

      • Piotr Barczak ♲

        Metals can be recovered?? Wait wait. Metals, according to the law (at least in the EU – Waste Framwork Directive) should be collected separately. SO metals should not be in the mixed waste stream that goes to the incinerator.
        Other stuff? What exactly – tell me.
        ANyway, I wonder if you would be happy to use cement that c ontains waste incineration ashes, and risk leakage, toxic content etc.
        Do go this direction.

        • Åke Forsmark

          Of course metal i collected before. But some metal stuff remains in mixed trash. How they separate whats toxic and whats not I do not know but I think some goes to roadfill. I dont think this goes in to this process but it gives a better insight into swedish waste management than that article..
          If youre seriously want to examine the matter I’m sure they are eager to help.

        • Mike Doverskog

          Opinions, opinions Piotr. Some people are just intent on being negative. Look, it works, ok. If you’re really interested read up on how these hazards are controlled in the processing. Find out from source rather than just googling and making assumptions.

    • Cynthia Reed

      Piotr, read this, please. See what Sweden DOES with the ‘ashes from incineration’. It’s pretty impressive.

      • Piotr Barczak ♲

        I know this article. Again. Metals must be collected before. MEtals that went through incinerators are of lower quality. WE are loosing value there.
        Ther rest: prcelain – really, how much of it is there. Is there so much quantity that will actually be significant to replace the gravel? + Porcelain could also be separately collected – to keep the highesst value.
        What is really the rest is the not fully burned plastics and textiles. Sounds strange? Yes, for me too untill I saw it. ACtually in a typical MSW incinerator, the temprature and technology is always leaving the unburned rests. They are not useful for anything. Must be lanfilled. But this amount is not counted in the landfill statistics – becasue it is caunted as industrial waste, not MSW waste.

  • ThinkMn

    I would love industry to produce goods that can be repaired. I just replaced the heater core on my 2001 Ford Ranger. What an awful experience. Obviously the manufacturer did not plan for repair or maintenance. Too bad. It use to be easy to replace parts on a car, lighter, etc. No longer. Buy, use, discard to they have another sale. Time to tax that bad behavior out of existence.

    • The Congress’s corporate masters would never tolerate that.

  • AV

    They are not recycling. They are “transforming waste.” Please read this article and clarify this post.
    – In summary: Incineration is not recycling, and therefore Sweden does not recycle 99% of its waste.
    Waste-to-energy also acts as a disincentive to develop more sustainable waste reduction strategies. It may work better in the short term with strict pollution standards and as a last-resort for waste disposal, but it does not offer us a sustainable long-term solution. Preserving material (through recycling and reuse) already in circulation is a key component of sustainable development. Burning finite resources may not be the best approach down the line.

    • Jordan

      The article states that they recycle, repair and reuse. And then they burn the appropriate materials after that. That’s why they have to import garbage from other countries.

    • Cynthia Reed

      Here’s an article for you, AV, to add clarity:

  • Gayanath Pradeep

    Is there any emission controlling during this process . it’s not mentioned here .

  • Cynthia Reed

    I moved to Sweden two years ago. It really is amazing. The local Kommun (county) has a program called “Thanks for the food” (‘Tack för maten”) and all foodstuffs, bones, and more go into handy brown bags they provide freely. One can put paper towels in to soak up moisture if needed. You fill a bag, fold the top down and they go in a brown bin and an automated truck comes and reads a bar code on the side when you’ve put it out and *whoop* away it goes to be turned into compost, which is given back or sold at a low price. Plastic bottles (soda, etc) and aluminum cans have a deposit paid when you buy the drink. Every grocery store has a machine where you feed them back in (some do wine bottles, too) and you get your money back to spend on your groceries. All the recyclable stuff goes to stations at the grocery stores and other places (paper, newspaper, plastic, batteries, aluminum, glass, textiles, etc) and there are large recycling centres where one goes with wood, metal, ceramics, batteries, electronics, and on and on, all into separate bins. There is a place to put things that work, or are useful, but aren’t needed. If you see something there you need, you can take it. I’ve left stuff there and taken several things from there rather than buy them, particularly when we were new here. Anything not recycled goes in the regular old rubbish. We only put the bin out when it’s full and are only charged for the collection when it’s put out, turned a certain way so the automated machine knows to empty it…and *presto change-o* we are only charged for when we put it out. Less rubbish = lower monthly cost. I put it out less than once a month because it’s not full the rest of the time.

    I’ve lived in six countries over the years and this is, by far, the most committed and effective system I’ve ever experienced. It really is amazing how little “trash” we have to throw away (and pay to have disposed). Yes, we pay high taxes but what comes back to us in convenience, services, ecological wisdom, etc, is amazing.

    • Jens Oleisen

      You make it sound so special, and we’ve had it like this for ages in Norway. Weird how different countries can do things.

      There’s digged down containers for paper, glass, metal and plastic right outside my apartment door. It’s easier to recycle than to throw it all in one bin.

      • Cynthia Reed

        For me, Jens, it IS special. I am an American and we never had such good recycling where I lived. Then, I lived in Malaysia for four years before coming Sweden. NOTHING was recycled in Malaysia (so far as i could find out) so now, being in a Nordic country, where this process is in place, seems like “himmel” to me — and I want to encourage Americans to think about how it could be done there.

        I live in the skågen here, but I still only have to go a short distance to recycle. It’s fantastisk!

      • Oscar

        Jens, I live in Oslo, and so far I have seen of norwegian garbage is both complicated and not even close to swedish recycling for example, if you live in an apartment, not all have different containers for garbage like, paper, glas, plastic, or cartons, glas for example you have to leave close to markets. In sweden most homes nowadays both apartments and houses have containers for all kind of garbage, like electronics, glas, metal, plastic, batteries, paper, cartons, and food,

        • Jens Oleisen

          I believe it’s “kommune related” but more and more should be available everywhere. I find that a lot of the good options you have to know about and ask for though, like here they will for free come and pick up any garbage (such as furniture, garden rubbage etc.) twice a year. Many people don’t know this, probably because they don’t read about it when this information comes.

      • JesseC

        Same in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Maybe other localities don’t have it?

    • Javier Villegas

      Yeah most of the UK has compost pickup weekly. NYC is finally about to start that soon but I don’t know why it’s like pulling teeth to get shit done in the states. Oh right, because we’re a wasteful country & now under our new dictator elect the planet certainly loses.

    • Coralislands

      Gee.. is that what they are using all the hand-grenades for in Malmo? What 150 have gone off in the last 6 months?

      Our great nation has committed suicide and all the recycling is not going to help that!

  • Somebody_Else

    And what about the exhaust from the trash burning plant?
    Trash isn’t usually considered clean burning by any means.
    Then there’s the leftover ash, which isn’t the same as wood ash, so what’s it’s toxicity and what’s done with it?
    The rest of it is just a steam engine used to generate electricity.
    So basically it’s the same as a coal fueled generator plant, except it uses trash instead of coal.

    • xlr8r

      The smoke from incineration plants consists of 99.9 per cent non-toxic carbon dioxide and water, but is still filtered through dry filters and water. The dry filters are deposited. The sludge from the dirty filter water is used to refill abandoned mines.

  • Mal Williams

    Sweden actually recycles only 35% of the household waste – they burn all but a couple of percent of the rest – along with other so-called European high performers Sweden studiously avoids mentioning their pyromania – they are now importing waste to burn. This is not good environmental practice.

  • Bill Lewis

    What a bunch nay-sayers. Sounds like most people here work for Exxon-Mobile, Shell, or maybe BP. This program is better than anything the U.S. has with a much smaller footprint. But, when you come up with a system anything close to this, let everybody know, OK?

  • Vinod S

    We really need people who can start this in India. They way trash is handled here is disgusting. Hope our Government learns from Sweden and acts on it.

  • 脏话

    in Shanghai, the recycling is simple: no recycling – it’s just awful! please Sweden, send some of your people in China and help fix the problem!

  • Piotr Barczak ♲
    • Mike Doverskog

      An article that assumes that all waste-to-energy production is as bad the the worst possible example is going to tell us what?

      • Piotr Barczak ♲

        hi, thanks for this question. Yes, this is to tell us that it is quite strange to depentding such an important and strategic asset on waste incineration, while other good policies aim to reduce the waste streams, is purely illogic approach.

        • Mike Doverskog

, the cooperative project involving members like the Swedish Environmental Agency and Swedish Waste Management Association and others, speak of their vision for reducing waste and their ambition for zero waste. It tells of the steps reduce > reuse > recycle > convert > deposit in that order of prioritization. Of course much of this is dependent on the willing cooperation of consumers, retailers and producers so the system will probably never be perfect but ambition is a good driving force, is it not? Without ambition no project would ever take off, let alone fly. As you can see, the conversion of waste to energy is only fourth in a five stage plan. Reducing the waste stream is higher on the overall agenda already.
          There are two types of waste to energy conversion plants in use, heat-electric and heat only. In Sweden a large proportion of town and city properties are heated from a central heating station that pumps heat in the form of hot water straight to the properties. some of the plants also generate electricity. Roughly 20% of these properties get their heating from waste management plants. I don’t think it is inconceivable that these plants can switch to other forms of fuel wihout too much fuss in a crisis but that is pure conjecture. I have no proof for this nor have I time to research it further today (as I will probably get fired if I don’t get back to work).
          As far as strategical importance for electricity production it is not as significant as you seem to think. Although not explicitly shown in the statistics from the energy authority (it is lumped in with all conventional conbustion generation) the figures for 2015 reads, hydroelectric 44%, wind 10%, nuclear 32%, imported 6% and conventional 8%.
          I would conclude that the significant benefits from this model of waste management outweigh the risks, which to my mind seem rather overstated.

  • Kjetil Kjernsmo

    Actually, this looks like plagiarism, as the pictures have been lifted from a New York Times article about the efforts in Oslo, Norway to do pretty much the same thing:
    I recognized the pictures as coming from that article, and from the place, this is their website: I’m sure Sweden does the same thing, but then it is in fierce competition with Norwegian companies that have had a head start.

    It is a good thing and worth a mention, but the author should have credited with New York Times.

    • Twaddlefree

      Credit for photos is given at end of article. Whether or not that was added after your comment is unknown. Still, it’s deceptive. Some reason that we can’t see actual pictures of Sweden’s plant and equipment doing what this article describes?

  • kelli wambua

    While itr may be true to some degree, there is no way you are going to compare a country of 9 million with another of over 300 million. tHE NUMBERS WONT ADD UP!

    • Mike Doverskog

      Because capital letter shouting gives you point more validity. What numbers don’t add up?

      • kelli wambua

        My point is that while Sweden recycles more waste than US, you cannot realistically compare the two given that their populations are totally different and hence the consumption rates are way different from each other. As for the capital letters, No hurt was intended, I just realized I had typed them in caps the moment I had already posted. Sorry for that

        • ycajunorg

          Consumption rates are not different as they are adjusted per head of population.
          If the USA (or any other country) wanted to emulate the Swedes (and to a lesser extent the rest of Western Europe) then they only have to scale up the numbers.
          By your argument you cannot compare any industry in Sweden with any in the USA because their populations are vastly different but this is done every day in hundreds of industries (Manufacturing, Farming, Finance)

  • Pernicious

    Snopes says this is b.s.

  • hitemstr8

    So, how much is the cost per kwh of electricity in Sweden and does the gov’t subsidize any part of the process? Also, between the time an item becomes garbage and the time it’s burned, what does it cost consumers & gov’t in time & money to save, pick up and process that garbage?

  • Shimada Ichiro

    Burning garbage being “eco-friendly” is a laugh. I guess they’re climate change deniers like Americans.

    • Mike Doverskog

      We’re not talking about burning trash like piles of leaves in the back yard in fall. We’re talking about specialized plants with some very serious and straight faced voc treatment and recovery systems.
      The equation works in an environmental sense because one the one side you have the toxins and greenhouse gas produced by decomposing trash in landfill and the greenhouse gas and toxins produced by energy production which turns out to be a lot higher than the greenhouse gas and toxins produced when simply burning the trash for energy production.

  • Kimberly Lee

    Best only ! Great job ! doing the right thing at the right timing .

  • Gary Mathis

    Not for me. I wouldn’t want to live in a beehive society.

    • Mike Doverskog

      Whichever way you live there’s always someone else doing the same so you’re still in a beehive. I prefer to be in the clean, responsible beehive.

    • ycajunorg

      What the hell are you talking about? Beehive society – another right wing nonsense phrase.
      You mean you do not like the idea of a society where people demonstrate that they take their civic responsibilities seriously and act in a way to maximise the greater good?
      If you do not wish to live in a modern, caring society then give up EVERY single community financed or administered initiative and go to live in a cave. Wth your troglodyte attitude it would surely suit you.

      • Coralislands

        ‘another right wing nonsense phrase’…

        Go to Malmo play with your pet muslims…. Just watch out for the hand grenades… Idiot liberal…

        • ycajunorg

          So now we see one of the strands behind this antipathy to whit anti European, anti Muslim prejudice. This is a true troglodyte reaction. Well done for showing your true colours.

          • Coralislands

            Go ahead, nebish, take a walk with your pet muslims… Do it! Bring your daughter, too After they are done ‘striking’ at your neck (see the quran – and every current school of Islamic jurisprudence to understand the quote) They can enjoy the rest of the evening raping your daughter – also allowed and encouraged by Islamic law…

          • ycajunorg

            Discussing with a reasonable person is a pleasure; discussing with a bigot is demeaning and pointless.
            As I have read major sections of the Qur’an and I probably know more about it than you do I will leave you to wallow in your own ignorance as this is so obvious.

  • argus

    what about the greenhouse gasses produced when burning, is it not just a case of out of the frying pan into the fire?

    • Mike Doverskog

      The greenhouse gasses released from these energy producing plants are less than the greenhouse gasses released from decomposition in landfill and the additional power stations that would take the place of the incinerators. I believe that is how the argument goes.

  • Mike Doverskog

    So many ill informed naysayers. This is just one part of an ongoing project. The ambition and prioritization is reduce > reuse > recycle > convert > deposit. It is still reliant on the cooperation of consumers, retailers and producers and is therefore not perfect. Converting trash to energy is only second to last in the chain of waste handling so no, it does not incentivize producing more trash. A lot of effort goes into this method of waste handling and energy production and if there was no significant environmental benefits it simply would not be done. Consider the motives for doing things the harder way. If there wasn’t a tangible benefit it wouldn’t be done. Swedes do not sort their trash at source for the fun of it. There must be more to the equation than most of you see. Maybe the landfill sites and traditional energy production together produce more toxins and greenhouse gas than the equivalent trash burning energy producing plant. I for one will bow to the greater expertise of those that have spent years researching and developing the techniques used and I will, with a clean conscience, scoff at the keyboard warriors who think their fifteen minutes on google carries the same educational weight.

  • valerieandroutsopoulos

    The important distinction between Sweden’s process and what’s happening in the US is that Sweden takes the time and effort to recycle as much as it possible through source separation so that the recyclables can be used for raw materials for manufacture into new products again BEFORE they burn it. In the US, “single stream” proponents have convinced the public that it doesn’t really matter how much is pulled out for “traditional” recycling because the “residue” is “recycled” for energy and WTE is “recycling” too – NOT!

  • ExPatAlaskan

    True Swedens actions do keep waste from other countries out of the ground/water and using it wisely and using it to lessen their county’s need on other fuels.
    But how is the energy used to bring it Sweden in balance with savings of not importing other fuels? How does pollution creation of transport compare to ground/water pollution/greenhouse gases created by traditional disposal.
    One problem I see is that by giving the rest of Europe an out on their pollution creation its may lessen the perceived need to deal with it in their prospective countries.
    Meanwhile back in Sweden, after steam is used for energy production would it be possible to condense the steam to hot water to be used for heating both for human warm and green house.

  • ExPatAlaskan

    Q: How is the energy used to bring it to Sweden in balance with savings of not importing other fuels? How does pollution creation of transport compare to ground/water/air pollution created by traditional disposal.
    Con: by giving Europe an out on their pollution creation it may lessen the perceived need to deal with it in their prospective countries.
    Meanwhile back in Sweden, after steam is used for energy production would it be possible to condense the steam to hot water to be used for heating both for human warmth and year around green house heating. Or at least use heat transfer systems to extract some heat from the stream before released into atmosphere?

  • Coralislands

    Run out of recycleables?? Start with the muslims… The nation is being destroyed by that rabble..

  • Philipp Boettcher

    There isn’t really anything advanced about incineration, its really bad for the environment too. The incineration industry spreads obviously propaganda that its good but it really isnt, there are a couple of documentaries out there were people living close to incineration plants complain how bad the air is and how they suffer from air related diseases like lung cancer and so on. Recycling is just a bad excuse of the industry to hold on to dangerous petroleum based plastic. I think only when they finally change to sustainable plastics made from bio material we will see a change.

  • frankly2

    Waste to energy has been fought by enviros here in the US for decades. They think that it would hinder conservation. They are the group that also has a political agenda related to suppression of freedom.

  • Móa Hjartardóttir

    <3 …but the image of power reflecting in me gusta

  • RJ Beaman Jr.

    This is nothing new. Sorry buzz feed, but you need to do your homework a bit better. I worked at this plant in 1990

  • Enrique Woll Battistini

    Excellent strategy, that would greatly reduce environmental pollution while maximizing the value of production through waste recycling. As is evident, it is impossible to reduce pollution to zero or even below the limits set by nature itself, and it is always necessary to consider humanity’s right to pollute:

  • namewon

    Some of these suggestions can be implemented on the local level by you and me, without the government’s say-so. I think that’s how we (disenfranchised progressives) can continue to exist on the fringes of Trumpism and remain true to our principles.

  • Wonderful. But it’ll never work in the US. Look whom we elected.

  • Mannie

    We used to burn trash for energy in the US. The firm I worked for designed several waste to energy plants in the US and Canada. This ended when the EPA designated municipal incinerator trash as hazardous waste, and stymied all efforts to recycle or repurpose the ash. (My favorite was vitrification; turning ash into an inert glass and using it as a building material or road fill.) Now it’s too expensive to incinerate trash and recover the energy.

    Thanks, environmental whackos.

  • Steve Yakoban

    There is a plant like this in NJ, but I don’t know if it compares or what it puts into the air.

  • There is no such thing as “waste-to-energy.” They’re called incinerators, and they just turn trash into toxic ash and toxic air pollution, recovery little energy in the process. Recycling and composting the same discarded materials saves 3-5 times as much energy as incineration can get back. Incineration is the most expensive and polluting way to manage waste or to make energy. See

  • Klara

    “By using this approach, the country is able to reduce toxins that seep into the ground.” – Not quite. The trash doesn’t just disappear. It just reduces in size… and becomes MORE toxic, for which specialised landfills have to be used.

  • Archer Sterling

    trump hates you!

  • Willie Dewer

    We had burning barrels, when I was a kid.

  • Don Bagley

    We just got rid of our disposable grocery sacks in California. It’s going smoothly.

  • This is only one more area where the USA is NOT #1. The most outstanding area where it is would be the number of people incarcerated.There, the USA leads all the nations of the world for all time. Both in the actual number of people in prisons and as a percentage of the population. A proud statistic, indeed. The USA has outdone the old USSR, Hitler’s Nazi Germany and every other government in history.

  • Edward Morrison

    This Swedish method is not perfect, because of the burning part. The better system is located at Edmonton, Alberta Canada. There waste system breaks down and uses compost. The other is recycling program, which is ahead of the European model. This city Edmonton is way ahead of Sweden and the world when it comes to recycling and waste management.