Sweden recycles so well it has to import garbage!

A bank of recycling stations
A bank of recycling stations

I wrote a previous article on where I live and quite a few people on Facebook and in the comments mentioned the recycling I mentioned in connection with this photograph (below).

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We recycle as much as possible (there are recycling stations outside for clear glass, coloured glass, cans, newspapers, cardboard, batteries, clothes and larger items) and that which cannot be recycled is posted into these postbox-like receptacles. At 6pm it is all sucked along underground tunnels to a central incinerator where it is turned into heat and hot water. This process generates 20% of Sweden’s heating, and provides electricity for a quarter of a million homes.
On parking meters there are adverts for this service. Your household leftovers are collected and turned into biofuel for cars, trucks and buses. This is also done from waste produced by supermarkets.
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The bottles being collected from our recycling station – it happens once a week.


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An interesting fact is that Sweden recycles 99% of its waste and therefore does not produce enough waste to fill all its needs, so it IMPORTS 800,000 TONS OF RUBBISH FROM OTHER COUNTRIES. Yep it’s true. Read more here and here.

There are also garbage police who issue huge fines for people who sort incorrectly or do not sort at all.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

One thought

  1. I am really impressed. Our country (Germany) does a lot in recycling but somehow I think not so efficient as Sweden. I wish we would and could do more, but I get the impression that it costs more than comes of it.
    I especially like the idea of the underground tunnels and sucking in the rest which cannot be recycled otherwise, giving it back as heat and electricity which over here is extremely expensive to buy (oil, gas…). I can imagine that we would be happy to have such a funtional system but I guess our politicians think different……….!?

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