The recycling industry continues to boom as more countries look for better ways to reuse discarded material. But just how big a difference does recycling make? In Northern Europe, countries like Sweden and Norway are setting an example that other nations may want to reuse.
Recycling in Northern Europe
In Oslo, Norway, recycling isn’t just a way to cut waste and save money; it’s a way of life. The burning of garbage generates heat for half of the capital city, including most of its schools. Oslo and other Northern European cities suffer from a different problem: a shortage of garbage to reuse. Norway now imports waste from England, Ireland and even Sweden to power its cities.
Neighboring Sweden is also taking great strides in environmental excellence. With a workforce of 40,000 people, Sweden’s environmental technology sector generates about SEK 120 billion in revenue each year. Its initiatives include, among such ambitions as eliminating fossil fuel consumption by 2025, continuous innovation of cutting-edge recycling equipment.
This advanced technology and attention to detail is what sets Northern Europe’s recycling system apart from the rest of the world. Shops hand out colored bags for organic waste, plastic, glass and other materials. High-tech machines at recycling plants sort the bags and allocate them into incinerators. Many cities are now converting organic waste into biogas to power public transportation.
Another factor lies in the accessibility of recycling services and the availability of recycling sites. In Germany, a nation with roughly a third of the population of the United States, battery recycling services offer over 70,000 collection sites compared to 30,000 in the U.S. Moreover, certain materials, including many types of plastic, aren’t accepted by U.S. curbside recycling programs.
Next Steps for Us All
Ease encourages action. By expanding collection sites that accept a greater range of materials, countries like the U.S. and China can start catching up to the recycling revolution in Northern Europe.
Whether you’re a country or a business looking to make a difference, using the right equipment is essential. General Kinematics supplies custom-built, heavy-duty machinery to help you process, sort and convey bulk material. GK installers deliver solutions to over 35 countries worldwide.