Day 329: recycling the Swedish way

Do you recycle?  If so, it’s a real pain separating “recycleables” and garbage into two separate garbage cans for your local authority to sort later, isn’t it?

If you think the above process is a pain, you should take a visit to Sweden, where they take garbage management to higher levels – good higher levels for the environment, and it takes a lot more attention from each individual than in other places.

As the consumer in Sweden, it is your responsibility to separate your garbage into the following categories:

  • Burning garbage (the non-recycleables) – it’s own garbage can that gets picked up from your house
  • Food waste – cooking waste and/or scrape your plates into the compost bag; also has it’s own garbage can that they pick up
  • Recycleables – you must bring these to recycling stations yourself:
  1. Paper
  2. Cardboard
  3. Colored glass
  4. Clear glass
  5. Metal
  6. Plastic
  7. Deposit cans and bottles

So, when you separate and recycle so many things, your “normal” garbage ends up being less and less, making the garbage cans comically small compared to those in the US.  Further, it is expected here that you recycle as a responsible person (and you can get fined if you have too much recycleable or food waste in your garbage).

The local recycling sorting facility is a really nice place with basically large sorting containers for everything, and it is surprisingly clean.  If you want, you can even get a free latte at the coffee machine in the indoor waiting room.  

our recycling sorting area

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