Sweden Moves Toward Zero Waste Goal While Germany Moves To Drop Greenhouse Emissions By Over 25 Percent

earth-screensaver_largeThe United States continues to lag behind leading countries in pushing aggressive environmental programs to reduce pollutants and garbage. Two stories this week highlight the sharp and disappointing contrast. In Sweden, the government has made an incredible leap in reducing household garbage and appears close to attaining the impossible: a zero waste national objective for landfills. Currently, less than one percent of Sweden household garbage ends up in landfills. In the meantime, Germany (which continues to outstrip the U.S. on green policies while continuing strong economic growth) has announced that it will add one million electric cars on the road by 2030 and expects to drop greenhouse emissions from transportation by 26 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels.

Sweden has had astonishing success in reducing landfill waste which is notoriously bad for the environment from residual ground and air pollution as well as the failure to fully recycle trash. The Swedish government has pushed the concept of garbage as a commodity for recycling or fuel production. Swedish families now Produce just 461 kilograms of waste which is slightly below the half-ton European average, but the country does an amazing job in managing the trash.

One of the biggest reasons for the low level of landfill use is a law that I have often spoken about in some countries. In Sweden, producers are responsible for handling all costs related to collection and recycling or disposal of their products. This gives companies an incentive to reduce packaging and increase recycling.

As for Germany, we have previously discussed the incredible achievements of that country in alternative energy sources. Merkel’s government has now announced the plan to have the million electric cars on the road by 2020 and set the 26 percent drop as the goal. Germany is making these achievements while maintaining one of the strongest economies in the world.

These laws of course have the obvious value of not just reducing greenhouse gases but reducing pollution and improving public health. The garbage rules also force greater cost internalization for manufacturers rather than to allow them to simply externalize the costs of packaging and pollution.

214 thoughts on “Sweden Moves Toward Zero Waste Goal While Germany Moves To Drop Greenhouse Emissions By Over 25 Percent”

  1. Nick,
    What’s a little benzine in your water, anyway?

    Speaking of water…
    … Do or donot toss meds down toilet?

  2. “And, why are there 2 Max’s?
    = = =
    To keep the conspiracy theorists busy…

    “Are you folks related?”
    = = =
    What do you think?

  3. Nick
    Isn’t ridicule one method of shutting down and controlling?

    School yard bullies ridicule. It get’s results…

  4. Jim22,
    I think you left out getting rid of the subsidies for oil and gas and coal…didn’t you?

  5. No. I want to ridicule PC to death. How am I doing? And, why are there 2 Max’s? Are you folks related?

  6. Nick Spinelli
    Extremists on both sides of the spectrum LOVE to ban stuff. They just LOVE it. They love to control lives of hard working people who don’t have time for politics.

    = = =

    So are you saying you wouldn’t ban PC ?

  7. I lost a comment in the WordPress filter, if it doesn’t get fished out, I want to say thanks SWM, I’ll be avoiding those products.

  8. JAG, My point about Ike was he built our interstate highway system and it is GREAT. I’ve driven coast to coast many times. It is classic USA.

  9. JAG, Few Americans knew Europe better than Ike. He helped save that continent. He knew this country is so much different, in culture and geography. There is a big push on to build trains to nowhere. I fully support trains in major metro areas. But, we are a driving and flying nation. Dems push trains where they simply do not and will not work. There are some corridors where they would. I have long said a high speed train from LA to Vegas would be a goldmine. There are others, but that is a cinch to thrive. The traffic jams are horrendous. Ask KarenS when she’s around about boondoggle train projects in Ca. where she lives. You’ll get an earful.

  10. Justagurl,
    Obviously it’s OK with some very selfish people who don’t care what our grandkid’s future world will be like.

    1. JAG.

      Within a few weeks I am going to do an article on plastic bag mandates and it will have some surprising info.

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