Keith Loria, Biomass Magazine
Fueled by population growth and a growing global economy, waste volumes around the world continue to escalate. In response, many countries have beefed up their efforts to increase recycling rates and implement more waste-to-energy (WTE) initiatives.
One of the most advanced countries when it comes to WTE measures is Sweden. While the average European country sends nearly 25 percent of household waste to the landfill, and the U.S. regularly sends about 40 percent, Sweden’s latest figures show it sent just half a percent of its waste to landfills in 2017. The country recycles more than 99 percent of all household waste, compared to only 38 percent 40 years ago.
Preventing waste creation became an important initiative of the Swedish government around 1976, when leaders realized the benefit of energy recovery is many times greater than sending waste to the landfill. Today, Swedish WTE efforts provide district heating and electricity corresponding to the heating of more than one million households, and electricity production to a little more than 600,000 households.