BY RIGI ANDRADE
The zero waste program that has been implemented in Sweden has proved to be beneficial for their citizens and is seen as a “Recycling Revolution” according to the Huffington Post.
Trash that would normally get thrown out at the curb is picked up and then turned into electricity and heat that is distributed through an underground grid that runs throughout Sweden.
“The Scandinavian country has become so good at managing waste, they have to import garbage from the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway and Ireland to feed the country’s 32 waste-to-energy (WTE) plants, a practice that has been in place for years,” writer Zi-Ann Lum of the Huffington Post reported.
The process is simple. Trash is picked up, then filtered. After the trash has been filtered, it is then burned. Steam is produced by trash being burned, and as a result spins generator turbines and that creates electricity.
“WTE plants work by loading furnaces with garbage, burning it to generate steam which is used to spin generator turbines used to produce electricity,” said Lum. “That electricity is then transferred to transmission lines and a grid distributes it across the country.”
One WTE plant supplies 40 percent of a single city in Sweden with heat and electricity.
“One plant produces enough power to satisfy 40 per cent of the city’s heating needs. Across Sweden, power produced via WTE provides approximately 950,000 homes with heating and 260,000 with electricity,” Lum reported.
Lum interviewed Swedish Waste Management communications director, Anna-Carin Gripwell who states the purpose of the business.
“When waste sits in landfills, leaking methane gas and other greenhouse gasses, it is obviously not good for the environment,” Gripwell said.
Goran Skoglund works for a leading energy company in Sweden and stated in a interview with Lum that waste is energy.
“A good number to remember is that three tons of waste contains as much energy as one ton of fuel oil … so there is a lot of energy in waste,” said Skoglund.
“It’s also a process responsible for converting half the country’s garbage into energy,” Lum said.