Model of Sustainability: Sweden runs out of garbage


What would it be like if there was no garbage in Kenya and affordable electricity was plentiful?

Roads would be clean, and Kenya would have found and environmental, financially-safe, and stable contribution to the country’s energy supply.  Can this be possible?

Yes it can.  So much so that the global leader in recovering energy from waste, Sweden, has ran out of garbage – literally.

Waste-to-energy in Sweden first started in the 1940s and since then, with help from highly-developed recycling habits, has made the Scandinavian country the poster-boy for alternative sources of energy and waste management.

According to Avfall Sverige, in Sweden, each person produces about half a ton of household waste every year.  Thanks to the efficient waste management in the country, the vast majority of this household waste can be recovered or reused as energy.  Only four per cent ends up in a landfill.

Just over two million tons of household waste is treated by waste-to-energy recovery method in Swedish plants ever year.  These plants incinerate a similar quantity of waste from industries as well.  Waste incineration provides heat to about 810,000 homes, and electricity to 250,000 homes.

Now facing an interesting dilemma, trash-less Sweden has to import garbage.

In order to continue fueling the waste-to-energy factories that provide electricity to a quarter of a million homes in Sweden, European countries are actually paying the Swedes to take their garbage.

Not only are the Swedes living in an environmentalist’s dream – a shortage of garbage – but they’re also reaping the financial rewards from an enviable energy model.

Capital Lifestyle Magazine asks: Do you think Kenya is ready to fully commit to living sustainably? Do you recycle?



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