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Sweden facing need to import garbage

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07:22 CEST+02:00
Sweden may be forced to start importing garbage from other countries in order to keep the country's ever-expanding supply of waste-to-energy incinerators in operation.

Billions of kronor have been invested in building new garbage incineration facilities, and interest in expanding existing facilities remains high.

But Swedes simply aren't generating enough trash to be used as fuel to power the facilities, according to Sveriges Radio (SR).

According to the latest forecast from industry association Swedish Waste Management (Avfall Sverige), Sweden is going to need to import around 1.6 milllion tonnes of trash.

Currently, Sweden's thirty or so garbage-fed power plants burn about 5.5 million tonnes of waste each year.

But expansion plans may boost Sweden's garbage burning capacity by 30 percent in the next six to eight years.

The prospect of importing garbage from other countries has caused concern at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket), which advocates for waste reduction.

"We've been very clear in our national waste plan. Reuse, materials recycling, and waste reduction are what we've called for," the agency's Catarina Östlund told SR.

However, Östlund admitted that it may be better to transport trash over long distances so it can be burned to generate warmth and electricity, rather than let it sit in a landfill.

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"The trash that is left in a landfill isn't put to any good use," she said, adding that she hopes Sweden can continue to improve how it deals with its own waste.

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