Sweden breaks trash record

The average Swede generates more household waste than ever before, new figures show. More of its is recycled though.

New figures from Swedish Waste Management (Avfall Serige) indicate that the average Swede now generates over half a tonne of household waste per year. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) is not impressed:

“The rubbish reflects the use of resources. Even if we would recycle more of the waste the process uses lots of energy. The increasing waste is a huge problem that reflects a system of resource utilization that is not working. We have to find a way of making real savings,” said Mikael Karlsson, SNCC chairperson.

In 2007 Swedes generated 4.7 million tonnes of household waste.

In ten years the amount of household waste has increased by 25 percent to 514 kilograms per head and year. Over the same period however, refuse tips have disappeared and the storage of waste has been cut by over 80 percent.

“We have become much better at recycling and the problem is in fact smaller today despite the increase. We are going to achieve the goal to recycle or organically decompose half of all waste by 2010,” said Weine Wiqvist, CEO of Swedish Waste Management.

The National Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) puts the increase in household waste down to the positive economic climate.

To recycle is not sufficient the agency argues, we also have to reduce our consumption.