Re­cy­cling Revo­lu­tion­ar­ies

BEST GLOBAL CLEAN­LI­NESS INI­TIA­TIVE WASTE TO EN­ERGY, SWE­DEN

India Today - - SAFAIGIRI - —San­deep Un­nithan

Send­ing trash to land­fills is pos­si­bly the lazi­est and dead­li­est way to dis­pose of trash. On Septem­ber 1, sev­eral hun­dred of tonnes of garbage stacked to the height of a 15-storey build­ing came crash­ing down at the Ghazipur land­fill in East Delhi, killing two peo­ple. As ad­min­is­tra­tors in the NCR be­gin to hunt for new dump­ing sites, there is an im­por­tant Scan­di­na­vian revo­lu­tion they could take note of—to­day, Swe­den re­cy­cles nearly 99 per cent of its house­hold waste.

Bet­ter still, half the waste is con­verted into en­ergy. Most of it is burned. From the ashes, met­als are sep­a­rated and re­cy­cled while non-com­bustible waste like porce­lain and tile is sifted to be used in road con­struc­tion. The one per cent that re­mains is de­posited in rub­bish dumps. The smoke from in­cin­er­a­tion plants con­sists of 99.9 per cent non-toxic car­bon diox­ide and wa­ter, but is still fil­tered through dry fil­ters and wa­ter. The sludge from the dirty fil­ter wa­ter is used to re­fill aban­doned mines.

In 2015, nearly 2.3 mil­lion tonnes of house­hold waste was turned into en­ergy through burn­ing. In 2014, Swe­den even im­ported 2.7 mil­lion tonnes of waste from coun­tries like the UK, Nor­way, Italy and Ire­land to be used as fuel. In 2004, it cel­e­brated the cen­te­nary of its first waste in­cin­er­a­tion plant. To­day, it has 32—that’s a lot of waste burned for a coun­try with a pop­u­la­tion of 10 mil­lion, less than that of the NCR.

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