Sweden sends less than 1% waste to landfill. But what happens to the other 99%?
Sweden sends 1% waste to landfill, recycles 49% of waste and incinerates the remaining 50% to generate energy to heat homes. Waste supplies heat for nearly 1.25 million apartments and 680 thousand homes, during winter.
Is this better than conventional fossil fuel power plants?
The main difference is that waste plants use 90% of the energy produced, whereas the conventional fossil fuel plants lose about 60% heat through large cooling towers.
Unfortunately, burning waste generates as much CO2 as burning fossil fuels. A lot of “fake news” claim that Sweden recycles 99% of its waste, which is not true.
There are however some positive aspects about it, as this system reduces the amount of waste going to landfill, which generates methane (CH4), much more potent than CO2.
What can we do?
One way to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill is to compost our organic waste.
Because of the lack of oxygen, organic waste trapped in landfills generates methane (CH4) by breaking down, which is a greenhouse gas much more harmful to the environment than CO2.
By composting your organic waste, you will create fertiliser for your garden and your plants.