Waste Recycling: The Swedish Way
Sweden has almost zero oil and gas reserves. Until the 70s of the last century the Swedes lived literally from one to the next heating season. In this Nordic country a very warm summer is when the air temperature rises to 22-23 degrees. Cold winter with temperatures below zero is the longest season here. Swedish energy industry, as well as the economy as a whole, has been in dependence on imports of hydrocarbons and the fuel gas for quite long time.
The only way out of gas cabbala for Sweden was the transition to the widespread use of alternative energy sources and virtually complete rejection from costly imports of oil and gas. But not all the conventional methods worked there: the climate in Sweden is too far from being cloudless, so the collection of solar energy couldn’t provide Swedes with energy to the desired extent. But household and industrial waste is another story.
The Swedes have calculated that after production of an average mobile device equaled 75 kg of waste, while one person produced about 1-1.5 kilograms of waste. Obviously, junk is an inexhaustible resource, constantly revolving, and permanently available. A solution of environmental problems, which helps fight reuse and recycling of household waste was a pleasant ‘side effect’ for the economy.
Energy efforts results
Thanks to the Swedish recycling program more than 99% of all waste is recycled. For comparison: in the US, only 34% is recycled. Moreover, Sweden helps fight dumping in neighboring European countries, purchasing their production waste. Sweden is not able to recycle only 0.7% of the locally produced garbage. Meanwhile, in the world of processing 40-50% processing rate is considered to be a good indicator. It is not surprising that many countries, including the highly developed European economies, are happy to export waste to Sweden. Every year the country receives 800 thousand tons of foreign garbage, including those from Germany, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy.
About half of the Swedish waste goes for recycling into energy. Disposal of solid waste accounts for 20% of the heat in the Swedish homes. Today so heated 900,000 Swedish households. In the production of biogas takes 15% of garbage (it goes to the needs of public transport). The used paper and making the new paper, plastic and the new plastic.
Swedish government creates favorable environment for processing businesses and invests in researches to press for financial liability. Thus, the govs investigate the expertise and technologies offered by the industry titans, such as UK-based Simdean, focusing on industrial waste disposal, plasma waste disposal and providing professional consultations.
Interestingly, a ton of recycled plastic bottles allows developing enough energy to fully meet the needs of the household. A 4 tons of waste produce as much energy as one ton of oil.
In Sweden, there are 30 power plants processing 5.5 million tons of garbage a year, and that’s the statistics that grow year by year. According to forecasts, in the next few years, the number of the world’s garbage will only grow, and by 2025 its volume will increase by more than twice