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Sweden is Solving the Problem of Overflowing Landfills

April 27, 2017

Over the past century, the emission of pollution around the globe has spiked tremendously. It has impacted water systems, agriculture, and air quality. As of this year, each American is said to produce 4.6 pounds of trash per day. Of that trash Dan Kulpinski, a writer for National Geographic, says, “Fifty-five percent gets buried in landfills, 33% gets recycled, and 12.5% goes to incinerators” (Kulpinski). Think about it, over half of our trash is going to landfills to sit there and take up space.

 

However, recently Sweden has created new technology that is seemingly the answer to Earth’s pollution problem. Instead of sending their garbage to landfills, their trash is being burned as a form of producing energy. The burning trash boils water which creates steam. The steam then moves turbines to create energy.

 

Ninety-nine point nine percent of the smoke emitted from the burning trash is non-toxic carbon dioxide, but it still travels through filtration systems to optimize the cleanliness of the energy. Once burned, the ashes are sifted through. The gravel found is used for road construction, metals are extracted and recycled, and once all said and done, only 1% of the original trash is left to go to the landfills.

Swedish citizens are very diligent about recycling. Different bags are designated for separating plastic, glass, metal, newspapers, light bulbs, electric appliances, and batteries. 50% of household waste is recycled through this method, and the other 50% is burned. All in all, This means that 99% of sweden’s trash is recycled and only 1% goes to landfills.

 

To raise awareness on the atrocities pollution causes, some people, such as Hans Wrådhe, the head of the waste and chemicals at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, has proposed raising a tax on waste collection. His reason is it would raise everyone's awareness on the issue.

Wrådhe has worked out a plan to prevent waste production. This plan includes pushing companies to make their products last longer as well as lowering taxes for some repairs. Wrådhe reasons, “Government-sponsored ads on how to avoid food waste might also help. And less toxic substances used in production would mean fewer products that require expensive treatment” (Fredén).

The major breakthrough in Sweden has opened a door to not only a clean form of energy production, but also an innovative an easy way to drastically reduce garbage in landfills.


 

Sources:

Fredén, Jonas. "The Swedish Recycling Revolution." Sweden.se. Copyright © 2013-2016

   Swedish Institute, 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.

Kulpinski, Dan. "Human Footprint - Sunday 9 PM ET/PT, April 13. This Show Will Be on

   Televisions Everywhere." Human Footprint | National Geographic Channel. N.p., n.d.    

   Web. 30 Nov. 2016.  

 

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