Jun 05

Importing Garbage for Energy – Why does Sweden buy other Countries Garbage?

The whole world is looking up to Sweden for its Zero waste movement. This is the answer to the question the whole world is asking about, why is Sweden buying garbage off other countries? Here in Sweden around 50 percent of the household waste is incinerated at energy plants to produce electricity. This is due to the amazing technology developed which enables profitable waste management. In fact electricity produced from waste is one of the most economic on the whole planet. The success of waste to energy is so successful that Sweden is having to import other countries waste to keep their plants busy. Proving it can be done -hats off to innovation.

The process of utilizing 99 Percent waste

Currently Sweden imports 700,000 tonnes of waste every year for its power plants. Let us understand the way this waste is utilized. The garbage is incinerated to produce heat which in turn produces electricity.The incineration of waste produces ash which is around fifteen percent of the total waste. Here too the excellent waste management kicks in; metals are separated from this ash and recycled. The rest which is mostly porcelain and tiles is sifted to give gravel. This gravel is used in the construction of roads. After the process is over only one percent waste is left which is used in landfills. Utmost care is taken even though the smoke coming out of the Power plant is 99.99% Carbon Dioxide and water which are non-toxic.This smoke is put through dry filter and water for further purification. The sludge which is the result of smoke through water is used to fill abandoned mines. In spite of being so successful at managing waste the government is not resting on its laurels but continues promoting waste prevention with advertising and education even specialized programs educating people how to minimize food waste.

Power plant in Hong Kong

Environmental impact of Waste Management

What Sweden is doing not only helps with energy requirements but also helps the environment. If we look at how the waste is managed in other countries we start to see a different picture. For instance in UK most of the household waste is used as landfills. Now the question is how does it impact the environment? Well household waste is very diverse and around 25% does not rot and emits Methane gas which is very harmful for the environment. So managing the landfills effectively and not using all kinds of waste is the solution.Then if we look at the incinerating waste system we see that plastics forms a major part of waste and incinerating them will produce dioxins which are toxic. These dioxins and heavy metals present in the smoke are responsible for Ozone damage and acid rain. This is the reason for the movement against how waste incineration in Europe is conducted. However processing the smoke as it is done in Sweden reduces dioxins and heavy metals release up to 90%. The world should learn from Sweden waste management and and how they are lowering the environmental impact to benefit the rest of the world.