Swedes threw away almost half a tonne of trash per person in 2017

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Swedes threw away almost half a tonne of trash per person in 2017
File photo of Swedish trash. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

The amount of trash being thrown away has increased in Sweden, with almost half a tonne (473 kilograms) of household waste per person in 2017 – an increase of 2.5 percent.


Municipal waste management body Waste Sweden (Avfall Sverige) has released new stats for last year. The total amount of household waste in the country amounted to 4,782,440 tonnes in 2017 – up from 4,666,260 in 2016.

About 1.7 million tonnes of that was bulky waste left at recycling centres, such as old furniture or garden waste. Food waste accounted for 2.2 million tonnes (food waste left in the standard trash).

READ ALSO: The story behind Sweden's bottle recycling scheme

The rest – 0.8 million tonnes – was packaging, newspapers and electronics. The stats show that bulky waste in particular is increasing in Sweden while the rest decreases.

"The increase in bulky waste is linked to the fact that Swedes have more money as consumers. In general, the increase in waste quite precisely follows GDP growth in Sweden," Weine Wiqvist from Waste Sweden explained.

"In a European context we're somewhere in the middle. If you look at it according to purchasing power, we're quite good."

The waste expert emphasized that much of what is “thrown away” is actually reused.

"We aren't discarding 473 kilos. Most things are actually recycled, and much of it is burned in order to become energy. But we should think about how a lot of resources go into producing what we consume," Wiqvist concluded.

READ ALSO: Sweden gears up for tougher measures against plastic waste


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