Sweden is already an environmental leader with its electric roads and plans to be 100% fossil fuel-free by 2050, but they’re not stopping there. The trailblazing Scandinavian nation also diverts 99 percent of its waste from landfills. A significant portion of the nation’s waste is recycled, and a process called waste-to-energy generates electricity from about 50% of the country’s garbage.
Of the Sweden’s 4.4 million tons of household waste produced annually, 2.2 million tons are converted into energy using waste-to-energy (WTE), according to Global Citizen. Garbage that is sorted for WTE plants is burned to produce steam, which is then used to spin turbines and generate electricity. Sweden is so proficient at its waste management practices that it actually imports 800,000 tons of rubbish from nearby countries to its 32 WTE plants.
Related: Sweden plans to import 800,000 tons of garbage each year
The system depends on residents responsibly in handling their trash, which has become more commonplace over the years. Citizens sort their garbage to go to recycling facilities or WTE plants, resulting in the impressive 99 percent diverted waste statistic. Meanwhile, the U.S. sends 55 percent of its waste to landfills each year.
Via Global Citizen
Images via Pixabay (1,2)
Editor’s note: This post was corrected to clarify that 99% of Sweden’s waste is not in fact recycled, as pointed out by Lloyd Alter at Treehugger