Sweden to import garbage as supplies of trash run dry

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

As other nations across the world struggle to cut the amount of waste piling up in their landfills and marring the landscape, Sweden is facing an entirely different sort of challenge. Sweden has run out of trash and now they are forced to import some more.

The Swedish people, you see, are among the Planet's least wasteful people. They recycle on average around 96% of the garbage that they produce, which is rather impressive.

And for that what is left, after recycling and composting, they have found also a way to use it, having implemented a world-class waste-to-energy incineration program capable of providing electricity sufficient to power hundreds of thousands of homes.

Their hyper-efficiency, however, has led to a unique problem: namely a trash shortage that could threaten the country's energy production capacity.

Now, in order to overcome this strange shortage that other countries can but envy, according to Swedish officials, the notoriously tidy nation will begin importing garbage from their neighbor Norway; about 80,000 tons of it annually, in fact, to fulfill their energy needs.

Perhaps the best part of all is that, in solving their problem, Swedes actually stand to profit from this endeavor twofold. First they are able to continue (and even expand) their waste-to-energy program and second the Norwegians are going to pay them to take their waste, proving quite succinctly that one nation's trash can truly be another's treasure trove.

Should this not be a lesson to other countries, including the UK and the USA that there does not have to be waste and that it can become a source of energy and pride.

But all we hear in the UK is that it cannot possibly, while it works in Sweden (and other places), work in Britain. Why not? Because it would mean investing in infrastructure for such programs first and the British authorities are looking for profit from waste rather than anything else.

If we really want to reduce waste then we have to look to countries where it works – and also to the ways of the past as far as reuse and doing with less are concerned – and learn from those.

© 2012