Sweden plans to import garbage to burn for power

Sweden recycles so much that they don’t have enough to burn to generate electricity and heat. So, they will be importing garbage.

Sweden only sends about 4 percent of its waste to landfills. To put that into perspective, the United States landfills about 67 percent of its waste. While that is great for Sweden’s environment, it isn’t so good for their Waste-to-Energy program.

Why are we so wasteful here in the States? Sweden generates 20% of their heat from burning trash. We could be doing that too. More and more I’m seeing that we talk a really good game here about recycling and renewable energy yet more than a few other countries are way ahead of us.

From a Waste-to-Energy PDF

Just over two millions ton of household waste is treated by waste to energy in Swedish plants every year. These plants incinerate a similar quantity of waste from industries as well. Waste incineration provides heat corresponding to the needs of 810,000 homes, around 20 per cent of all the district-heating produced. It also provides electricity corresponding to the needs of almost 250,000 homes.

Torsviksverket in Jönköping, which was commissioned in 2006, incinerates 20 tons of waste every hour. Photo: Anders Arvidsso