Hey Europe, Sweden Wants Your Garbage

by
Lauren Burgoon
Wanted in Sweden: Tons and tons of trash. Inside Sweden's unusual garbage problem.

Most countries worry about what to do with their piling garbage. But Sweden has the opposite problem.

It seems Swedes are so good at embracing the "reduce" in reduce, reuse and recycle that there isn't enough garbage to power the country's waste-to-energy programs. 

Fortunately, trash-tastic Norway is just waiting to give its garbage away (just kidding, Norway, we love you and your trash-sharing ways.) Sweden imports tons of Norway's trash especially to power its energy operations, as well as accepting 800,000 tons of trash total from around Europe. 

Europe's trash really is Sweden's treasure. The waste-to-energy plants mean only 4 percent of Swedish garbage ends up in landfills. Compare that to 55 percent for the U.S., 67 percent for Canada and 37 percent average in Europe.

If Swedes have their way, they'll be the garbage collector for all of Europe.

"I hope that we instead will get the waste from Italy or from Romania or Bulgaria or the Baltic countries because they landfill a lot in these countries," a Swedish government official told Public Radio International.