Sweden is famous for Ikea, the Nobel Prize, and a historical avoidance of war amongst other things and now it can add importing rubbish to the list. Sweden is running dangerously low on household and industrial waste and is going to start buying it from other countries.
According to the country’s Waste Management site, two million tons of waste is converted to heat and electricity each year, with only 4% of the nation’s trash ending up in landfills. But it’s not enough:
Due to its efficiency in converting waste to renewable energy, Sweden has recently begun importing around 800,000 tons of trash annually from other countries.
Norway is now paying Sweden to take its garbage. Swedish sights are also set on Bulgaria, Romania and Italy as future trash exporters, as Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the country’s environmental protection agency, told PRI. Those countries rely heavily on landfills – a highly inefficient and environmentally degrading system.
Compare this to the United States, which recycles about 34% of the 250 million tons of trash generated per year. The majority of the rest is landfilled.