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  1. #1
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Aug 2008

    Default Sweden's trash to treasure model Source.

    Basically, not only is Sweden reduced their waste output to begin with, but what little they do make turns into the energy they operate on. They're actually being paid by other countries right now to haul their waste away to use as fuel because they've literally started to run out of garbage.. It's a pretty awesome business model.

    I'm wondering how feasible it would be to implement something like this in other countries? Thoughts on the issue of why it isn't being used more widely? I just read the article, I haven't had time to sit down and research it thoroughly.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    378 sx/so


    I heard about something similar to this in Florida to convert garbage to asphalt
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2008


    Waste incineration is not more widely done for several reasons:

    - the combustion of garbage produces a lot of pollution, far more pollution than the combustion of natural gas and even fuel sources like heating oil and coal; it seems the Swedes have gone to great lengths to treat the flue gases before emitting them to the atmosphere but such strategies could also be applied to, say, a coal-fired power plant. A jurisdiction that produces a large proportion of 'clean' energy (hydroelectric, wind, solar) would be increasing their harmful atmospheric emissions substantially, which hardly seems like much of a 'gain' over simply having landfills.
    - it doesn't completely eliminate waste. After the garbage is burned it leaves a highly toxic ash. Where you have eliminated a garbage dump you've created the necessity for a hazardous waste disposal site.
    - it requires relatively complex and expensive sorting facilities and screening processes to filter out things like batteries, which if burned would produce toxins, and recyclable things that would be better served being re-used or recycled rather than be burned
    - it works best if you can get the populace to do the aforementioned screening of their garbage beforehand, which may be very difficult to accomplish depending on where it is you're trying to set this up. As an example I was flabbergasted when I went to Florida a few years ago and saw people throwing away recyclable beverage containers; there were no recycling programs in place, and about half of all of the litter I saw on the streets and beach was beverage containers. There is no 'culture' of recycling in place, let alone sorting combustible and non-combustible waste. Trying to create such a culture may be very difficult in the face of an obstinate populace.

  4. #4
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    Jul 2012


    Incinerating stuff isn't really the way to go, but what are their methods?

    Making syngas from biodegradable waste can be effective since it makes mostly CO2 which can be taken out of the atmosphere by planting more plants and trees, and it takes waste out of the landfill which would decay into methane instead. So it's swapping an inevitable form of pollution for one that can be more easily gotten rid of. Another way is to just catch the methane and burn it.

    Thermal depolymerization can work on plastic and some types of biomass, basically turning it back into synthetic oil. The resulting methane pollution can be burned to help power the conversion process, making it more efficient.

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