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Oslo Imports Trash for Power Generation, But There’s Not Enough Trash to Go Around

Trash Loaded for Power Generation, A Dwindling "Resource"?
Trash Loaded for Power Generation, A Dwindling “Resource”?

The city of Oslo, Norway, burns its trash in specialize plants for power generation and heating, but there are more trash-burning plants than there is trash to feed them.

The situation is similar in other Northern European countries, which exceed 700 million tons of trash-burning power generation capacity. The problem is, in an age of increased environmental awareness and focus in decreased consumption, Northern Europeans produce just 150 million tons of trash per year.

This means that less trash is available for power generation facilities, and landfills are nearly empty. Plant builders apparently haven’t gotten the memo on dwindling supply, “…and the Swedes continue to build more, as do Austria and Germany,” mentions Pal Mikkelson, managing director of Oslo’s waste-to-energy program.

The solution, of course, is to import trash from more productive countries like England and Sweden, possibly even the US [ahem]. “I’d like to take some from the United States. Sea transport is cheap,” said Mikkelson. I don’t think that I’ve ever heard anyone say there’s not enough trash to go around. Trash-burning power generation reduces dependence on fossil fuels and keeps trash from landfills, waterways, and roadsides.

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