“NPR reports that Sweden’s program of generating energy from garbage is wildly successful, but recently its success has also generated a surprising issue: There is simply not enough trash.
Sweden has recently begun to import about eight hundred thousand tons of trash from the rest of Europe per year to use in its power plants. Sweden already brings trash from Norway and hopes to get garbage from Italy, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic countries.
Sweden creates energy for around 250,000 homes and powers one-fifth of the district heating system. Its incineration plants offer a look into the future where countries could potentially make money off of their trash instead of dumping. Landfilling of organic materials â€“ a highly inefficient and environmentally degrading system (PDF) â€” has been forbidden in Sweden since 2005 and emissions of the greenhouse gas methane from landfills has fallen dramatically (PDF).
‘I hope that we instead will get the waste from Italy or from Romania or Bulgaria or the Baltic countries because they landfill a lot in these countries,’ says Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the country’s environmental protection agency. ‘They don’t have any incineration plants or recycling plants, so they need to find a solution for their waste.'”
Additional reportingÂ by Matt Hackman (for mnn.com)
Sweden, a recycling-happy land where a quarter of a million homes are powered by the incineration of waste, is facing a unique dilemma: The nation has run out of much-needed fuel.