Sweden has transformed its waste-infrastructure program to accommodate the burning of trash. They have taken a process that used to be heavily pollutant and modernized it to create incredible amounts of energy with a low waste output. They've even figured out how to turn a lot of that polluting gas into biofuel.
Currently, the Swedish population recycles 1.5 billion bottles and cans annually, which is an amazing amount, relative to the population of about 9.6 million (in 2013).
There are 32 of these amazing reconversion plants, dedicated to turning trash into energy, throughout the country and they are actually at a point where they need to import trash to keep them going. They continue to import trash from the UK, Italy, Norway, and Ireland.
Burning it is, now, better for the environment than letting it sit there, says Swedish Waste Management communications director Anna-Carin Gripwell. “When waste sits in landfills, leaking methane gas and other greenhouse gasses, it is obviously not good for the environment."
“We feel that we have responsibility to act responsibly in this area and try to reduce our ecological footprint,” states Per Bolund, Swedish Finance and Consumption Minister. “The consumers are really showing that the want to make a difference and what we’re trying to do from the government’s side is to help them act, making it easier to behave in a sustainable way.”