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Sweden has solved waste disposal once and for all, making the rest of us look silly

Sweden’s the good guy, fighting the global warming war. Everyone clap for Sweden.

You know how sometimes it seems like you can’t turn on the television, or overhear anyone’s conversation, or see one of those old-timey print media type thingamajigs without being told in big bold letters that it’s pretty much the end of days so, you know, buckle up?

Well, allow Techly to flip the script, however briefly.

Would it interest you to learn, for example, that representatives of over 90 countries took part in a conference this year and pledged $5.3 billion towards the conservation of our oceans, including a huge marine reservation off the coast of Antartica?

Or maybe that acidity levels in our atmosphere have been reduced to the levels they were at before industrialisation? How about the fact that the average life expectancy in Africa is higher now than at any point during the last 25 years. By the way if your day could use perking up, there’s a whole lot more where these came from.

One of the more unusual stories to have surfaced from the dusty, underused pile of good news recently is that of Sweden being too darn good at recycling, specifically that the whole country has run out of rubbish.

While that may not sound like a particularly pressing issue, or actually even possible, The Independent published a report on the rude health of the Scandinavian country’s eco-policies, stating that less than 1 percent of household waste has been sent to landfill annually since 2011 and that nearly half of the country’s electricity comes from renewable sources.

What’s more, and of vast importance to a country with Sweden’s climate – they’ve found a way of using waste as an energy source. The Independent‘s report explains, “Over time, Sweden has implemented a cohesive national recycling policy so that even though private companies undertake most of the business of importing and burning waste, the energy goes into a national heating network to heat homes through the freezing Swedish winter.”

Well, if the last hundred years or so of human history has shown us anything, it’s that humans are quite adept at using up a resource completely, and the same is true of Swedish junk, meaning that they have begun to import waste from other countries in the EU, where it is in some places illegal to send waste to landfill, and heavily taxed elsewhere. Of course there are two sides to every argument and it has been suggested that using waste as a source of energy acts as a deterrent to recycling, instead of a product being recycled it is instead incinerated, however the country’s catchy “Miljönär-vänlig” movement is geared towards encouraging the benefits of repairing, sharing and recycling within the community.

However as the video below shows, Sweden is not the only major player in the ‘waste trade’ which is worth $500 billion a year, the video also states that in 2010 China imported 39 million tonnes of recyclable waste, mostly from EU countries. It is suggested that for most countries it is a matter of economics, it’s cheaper to ship waste elsewhere to be dealt with than to pay the taxes or, presumably, invest in the infrastructure.

The thing that separates Sweden is that, rather than treating the whole thing as a money making exercise, this is instead a matter of supply and demand and that, according to The Independent, if the countries exporting waste were to cease doing so, the same energy could be replicated by bio-fuels.

Basically what we’re getting at here is, GO SWEDEN!

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