Sweden, Take Our Trash, too?

La Paz Group

With Swedes recycling almost half (47 percent) of their waste and using 52 percent to generate heat, less than 1 percent of garbage now ends up in the dump PHOTO: Shutterstock With Swedes recycling almost half (47 percent) of their waste and using 52 percent to generate heat, less than 1 percent of garbage now ends up in the dump PHOTO: Shutterstock

Now, to ask someone to take your garbage will be met with censure in any part of the world, but not in Sweden. Since the country’s waste incineration program began in the 1940s, 950,000 homes are heated by trash; this lowly resource also provides electricity for 260,000 homes across the country, according to statistics. But there’s a problem: there is simply not enough trash.

Americans, in general, are bad at recycling. In 2010, U.S. residents recycled 34% of their waste—an embarrassing amount compared to European countries like the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria, where people recycle almost all of their waste. In Sweden, people are so diligent about recycling that just 4% of all trash ends up in landfills, It’s…

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