No, I am not referring to Capitol Hill, but rather to the hills of garbage and trash that are mounding up in landfills across our nation.
Let’s face it, we Americans produce a great deal of garbage and waste and there will come a time in the very near future when we no longer have a place to put it. Perhaps we need to take a lesson from the Swedes.
To begin with, Sweden is one of the most recycling nations on planet earth. Some reports claim that they recycle as much as 96% of all the trash they produce. Can you imagine if Americans recycled even 50% of the trash we produce? I seriously doubt if we even recycle 10% of what we produce.
But what about the garbage that they don’t recycle? They have developed an efficient system of incineration that helps to meet two vitally important needs for their Swedish people. As the remaining trash in burned, it heats a series of water pipes that lead out of the plant and cycles through neighboring homes and businesses, provided needed heat, especially in winter.
Additionally, the incineration process also produces enough electricity to provide power to about 250,000 homes.
The Swedish program has been so successful that they are running out of garbage to burn. In their time of need, they have turned to their neighbor, Norway. Norway has not learned their lesson from the Swedes and have a problem with too much garbage. So Norway is paying Sweden to take tons and tons of their garbage off their hands, which provides Sweden with additional income and enough garbage to burn to continue to heat and power nearby homes and businesses.
If the Swedes can do this and make it economically work, why can’t other countries like the US? Can you imagine the difference this would make to have a similar system built near every major city in the US?
There would be no more need for ugly and smelly landfills that only pollute the land and water. The reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity and heat homes would drastically be reduced which would also help to clean up our land, air and waterways. Sounds like a win-win situation that no one is looking into as far as I can tell.