Suecia compra a Noruega la basura para cumplir con sus necesidades energéticas

2 de noviembre de 2012 at 10:07 Deja un comentario

Sweden started buying trash from Norway in order to meet its ongoing energy needs. The nation is extremely efficient at managing its refuse and no longer has sufficient waste to incinerate.

Sweden now imports roughly 800,000 tons of trash, most of it from Norway. According to PRI, “it’s more expensive to burn the trash there and cheaper for the Norwegians to simply export their waste to Sweden. […] In the arrangement, Norway pays Sweden to take the waste off their hands and Sweden also gets electricity and heat.” Any toxic ash, such as the ash containing heavy metals, is returned to Norway for disposal.

Avfall Sverige, or Swedish Waste Management, estimates (link is PDF) each person in the nation generates a half ton of waste annually. An estimated 4% of Sweden’s household waste is sent to landfills while the remainder is either recycled or fuels waste-to-energy power plants, according to the agency. In the United States, in 2010, 250 million tons of trash was generated, and of that about 34% was recycled, estimates NPR.

Overtornea heat power plant

Waste-to-energy plants supply 20% of Sweden’s district heating. District heating is a heat distribution system that uses heated water piped into residential and commercial buildings. The system also provides electricity for a quarter of a million homes.

Avfall Sverige reports state that national incineration capacity has trebled and energy production has increased five-fold since the mid-1980s as emissions have been reduced in by almost 99%.

The average amount of trash generated in Europe sent to landfills is about 38%. Sweden stands at 1%, according to Eurostat.

Waste-to-energy can meet a great deal of Europe’s annual heating needs, according to the organization:

[A]round 50 million tons of waste are processed through incineration every year throughout Europe. This corresponds to the heat requirements for the populations of Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In Sweden alone, waste incineration generates as much energy as 1.1 million cubic metres (m³) of oil, which reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2.2 million tons per year. This is as much CO2 as 680,000 petrol-powered cars emit in a year.

Catarina Ostlund, Senior Advisor for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, told PRI that Sweden is producing very little waste and cannot meet its needs for heating. She says that the nation still needs to reduce its waste output.

She said the arrangement with Norway is merely a stopgap:

This is not a long-term solution really, because we need to be better to reuse and recycle, but in the short perspective I think it’s quite a good solution. […] I hope that we instead will get the waste from Italy or from Romania or Bulgaria or the Baltic countries because they landfill a lot in these countries. They don’t have any incineration plants or recycling plants, so they need to find a solution for their waste.

Sweden began implementing its waste-to-energy system after World War II.

Avfall Sverige was founded in 1947 and is a 400-member association consisting primarily of muncipalities with about a fourth of its membership from the corporate sector.

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