What Seattle Can Learn About Recycling From Sweeden

Many communities have attempted to reduce waste, through recycling programs and education. But, to truly be a green community, it takes much more. Take, for example, the recycling efforts in Sweden have resulted in 50% recycling of all trash. Much of it is used for incineration, to produce heat for households. This is a model many communities should consider, including Seattle.

Effective recycling programs incorporate many activities. Reuse of plastic packaging materials is one way to reduce waste. Another is to compost organic matter, such as food waste. Yet another approach, is to educate people on how to reduce waste produced in the home.

The recycling programs in many communities focus on plastics, aluminum cans, and paper products. These forms of waste are put into special recycling containers, to be picked up by the local waste removal company or taken to a local recycling center. However, effective recycling programs rely on businesses to also make a substantial contribution. Some dumpster rental companies like Jux2 Dumpster Rental’s Seattle office offer special containers, just for materials that can be recycled. Building materials and furniture are some of the items that can be re-used or turned into new products.

Another way to consider the environment, is to reduce the amount of waste produced. This means considering packaging, when buying food items and household goods. Buying in bulk is another way to reduce packaging. Fresh vegetables and fruits are healthiest and come with the least amount of packaging. Buying fresh means reconsidering how we shop, on a regular basis. Instead of taking a 4 hour trip to the grocery store once a month, buying fresh would require at least one trip to the store every week, if not two trips.

One of the main reasons people don’t do this, is due to busy work schedules and other demands. Changing habits would require changing lifestyles. Buying fresh has its advantages. It’s easier to support the local economy and local growers, when people choose fresh ingredients. It takes less fuel to ship food products locally, than from across the country. Still, most chain grocery retailers don’t support locally grown producers.

While dumpster rental companies and businesses can do more to promote recycling, they can also use creative ways to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and keep energy usage low. Using lower wattage bulbs or compact fluorescent bulbs can help. Situating work stations and office near large windows makes use of daylight, for a variety of tasks. It also helps workers stay refreshed and upbeat.

An incineration program is another good idea, especially for communities like Seattle. The region experiences rather cold Winters, compared to the rest of the U.S. By incinerating trash, the city could provide lower cost heating options for residents and businesses. Businesses and homes would supply the trash materials necessary for incineration.

Many countries ship their trash to Sweden, in an effort to reduce waste going into landfills. This could be done in Seattle as well, by taking waste from other regions of the country and using it for incineration energy. Communities in Southern states, for example, don’t need as much heat in the Winter. They can easily send their garbage for incineration. This will have far less of a negative impact on the environment, than taking the same waste to a landfill.

While waste reduction, recycling, and composting can help, incineration takes care of items that can’t be used. It turns trash into energy, to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. A city such as Seattle could greatly benefit from an incineration program. An incineration program is costly to develop, but can pay off when it’s up and running for a while.

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