Sweden is Running Out of Trash


landfill garbage trash sweden

In Sweden, this trash would be almost as good as gold. http://newenergyandfuel.com

Sweden is now importing trash from surrounding countries in order to sustain its waste-to-energy program. Its recycling program is so successful that only 4% of all trash that the Swedish population produces ends up in landfills.

This is very delightful news and sheds light on a brighter future in environmental conservation as well as a cleaner environment overall. However, this recycling-centered mindset has caused a rather peculiar problem: there is now a shortage of trash to power this waste incineration program.

On average the waste-to-energy program handles two million tons of trash annually and heats 810,000 homes. It began in the earlier half of the 20th century, and has increased in capacity and efficiency throughout the years. The trend goes like this: waste incineration capacity increases, while percent of garbage going in to landfills decreases.

According to Public Radio International, Sweden now imports 800,000 tons of trash on an annual basis. Most of the trash thus far has come from Norway. The deal that Sweden gets is nothing short of spectacular. Norway pays Sweden to export the trash from their landfills. What Sweden gets in return is a FREE energy source to provide thousands of homes with electricity and heat.

The flip-side is that the waste byproduct known as dioxin, which comes from the ashes of trash, is an environmental pollutant. Along with the dioxin there are also heavy metals in the ash. These all get exported back to Norway where it gets put back into the landfills. Norway does not seem to mind this as burning waste seems to be more expensive than exporting it.

(One thing I do not understand is why Norway does not implement the same energy-to-waste program as Sweden, that way an even larger part of the Nordic area could become a waste consuming powerhouse. As Norway’s economy continues to thrive, I don’t think that finding money to fund such a program would be much of an issue.)

Countries like Italy and France could benefit from exporting waste to Sweden as well. Naples, Italy produces more trash per square meter than any other place on the planet. Have you been to Paris recently? If you are traveling from Chicago, you can definitely smell the stench in the air in many areas, especially where trash is left out on the curbs.

How about implementing this kind of system in Africa or Asia? There are numerous countries with waste treatment programs that are not on par with the developed world, posing various health threats.

I hope that one day Sweden will lead the way in other regions of the globe by continuing to handle waste creatively as well as educate individuals and groups on recycling methods.

For more information regarding how trash affects our planet, click here.










Fridge Free Food: Kick Your Obsessive Storage Habit & Keep Food Fresher Too

As a 21st century man, I’ve never thought of going a day without my refrigerator. I have a fit when my filter makes my water murky, I get pissed when my ice maker stops churning out cubes, and boy…you don’t want to be around me when the crusher jams.

I’ve never thought back to the simpler times when we didn’t have technology to aid us with man’s most basic of needs. What did we do to keep our food fresh hundreds of years ago? They didn’t shop Costco in bulk, did they?

In this article from the I-wanna-be-everlasting-green Treehugger blog, they describe a designer’s high-ingenuity, low-tech concepts to make food safety and storage simple.

From an egg storage system that checks age by water displacement, to sticking carrots downwards in sand to regulate humidity, this article is chocked full of interesting information about how designer Jihyun Ryou unlocks nature’s basic rules for longevity in your mind. Kick the fridge, stop wasting so much food, and get back to your roots.

Did you know that storing apples with your potatoes prevents them from sprouting those roots? It’s because of the ethylene gas that apples give off and that potatoes absolutely love.

apple_potato.jpeg.492x0_q85_crop-smartCool, huh?

Jihyun explains my plight:

We hand over the responsibility of taking care of food to the technology, the refrigerator. We don’t observe the food any more and we don’t understand how to treat it.

She hit it right on the dot.

Head over to the sources for more information and some inspirational pictures of how it’s done. With one weekend and a couple materials, you can kick that obsessive fridge habit. Well, maybe not…I love my chopped ice.








Unprecedented Changes and Extinctions Occurring in Marine Life

Indian Biodiversity Talks has recently posted about a review that examines the impending mass extinctions of marine life that are taking place and will continue to take place on a global scale. Due to global warming and the mass acidification of the oceans, scientists are urging the world to alter its behavior immediately and look further into which species will safely adapt, and which will perish in the wake of history.

The world must change its effect on global climate, and practice sustainable, clean lifestyles if it wishes to provide future generations with what we would consider acceptable livelihoods.

Climate change is obvious all around us, especially when viewing the melting of ice in places like the Arctic and in Greenland.  In July of this year, the melted area of the Greenland ice sheet jumped from 40% to 97% in only 4 days!

One of the greatest effects we have on our world and oceans is through the way we handle our waste.  Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is circulated in the North Pacific Gyre.  It is a patch of ocean containing, in many areas, more plastic than plankton.  The U.S. produces about 6.8 billion kilograms of plastic each year and only one per cent of it is recycled.  There is even plastic from the 1950’s still slowly floating in the midst of more contemporary garbage. It is one of  many ever increasing problems that must be addressed swiftly and efficiently if there is any hope of saving ourselves from ourselves.

*Update* Vice released a documentary on youtube yesterday documenting never before seen aspects and information of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  Most importantly, it reveals in detail how this garbage affects you and seeps into your body quickly and with sickening potency. Click the number to watch part: 1  2  3 (Part 1 and 3 contain the best information, while part 2 focuses more on the journalist’s experience on the ocean).

“Today’s problems cannot be solved if we still think the way we thought when we created them.”  -Einstein

A Breakthrough Futuristic Material: Silk

In this TED talk Fiorenzo Omenetto discusses the copious areas where society can economically and sustainably implement silk in breakthrough ways.  Silk can be used in almost any area of society including fiber optics, needles, cups, tattoos, medicine, sensory devices, and much more!

It seems like silk has the potential to single handedly usher in a new era of our materialistic culture.  Since it is easily biodegradable as well, why not?

Permaculture Connection


This site connects people interested in sustainable farming, permaculture, organic lifestyles, clean energy methods and more from all around the globe.  It is a forum with invaluable information abound!

There’s a name for these wonderful people by the way; Permies.

Check out the site, become a permie and as Gandhi said:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Make a Permaculture Connection

permaculture graph


What is Permaculture?

Permaculture was invented in Tasmania Australia by Bill Mollison, David Holmgren and their associates in the 1970’s. It was a revolutionary approach to age old problems with farming and gardening.  Through a series of publications they began to spread their ideas and it has continued ever since with growing international communities and passionate people expanding and improving methods everyday. Wikipedia tells us that,

Permaculture is a branch of ecological designecological engineering, and environmental design which develops sustainablearchitecture and self-maintained horticultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.

Geoff Lawton, a permaculture consultant, takes it a step further in his TEDx video and explains why it is such an important practice.

How can I get involved?

There are many great websites that connect worldwide communities interested in sustainable agriculturepermacultureorganic lifestylesclean energy methods and more.

Permies is a forum with invaluable information abound! It’s called Permies, because that’s what these wonderful people are called!

Permaculture Global is another website that helps connect people all over the world through projects and classes.

If you’re interested more in organic farming make sure to check this site on WWOOFing. The WWOOFing organization allows people to travel and learn this valuable information on a low budget. If you just want to stay at home and learn a little more the  Permaculture Activists site is quite useful. Of course you could always take a vacation to California where they’re working a lot harder at it than the rest of the states. (There is also a really great detailed version with explanations of the above chart)

In addition to looking at websites and joining forums there are also classes and schools you can go to in order to receive permaculture certifications or general foundation knowledge. Here’s a link to courses in the American Midwest.

The Chart

In the chart above the three main circles stand for earth care, people care and fair share.

The 12 smaller circles represent the following ideas.

1. Observe & interact

2. Catch & store energy

3. Obtain a yield

4. Apply self-regulation & accept feedback

5. Use & value renewable resources & services

6. Produce no waste

7. Design from patterns to details

8. Integrate rather segregate

9. Use small & slow solutions

10. Use & value diversity

11. Use edges & value the marginal

12. Creatively use & respond to change

So check out the site, become a permie and as Gandhi said:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”


Permaculture Global

Certification Courses

Short History

Fundamental Courses 

Geoff Lawton



Permaculture Activists

Transition California

Edible Landscapes

An Edible Landscape

This garden, consists entirely of healthy, edible plants!

This TED talk describes how local communities and the world at large can begin to use its land more effectively.  Pam Warhurst explains how she and a small group of garden revolutionaries began planting edible herbs, fruits and vegetables around their village in England without permission.  The result?  Countless miles of previously unused land has been converted into healthy chow.  Pam is urging the world to stop growing ‘pretty’ flowers simply for their aesthetic value and start growing edible plants in their place.   Oh, those vines wrapped around city hall’s bicycle rack?  Strawberries.  Help yourself.

The idea of edible landscaping has also spread to homeowners around the world who are choosing to transform their front and back yards into gardens in place of traditional shrub-style landscaping. Ros Creasy has actually been practicing edible landscaping for three decades! Everyday Joes and Janes are beginning to adopt more sustainable lifestyles through edible landscaping.  Not only does the practice save you a nice chunk of cash, it is also a healthier alternative to the food you eat.  It makes the environment happy as well by decreasing the amount of space required for commercial agriculture.

Whether through personal or communal gardening, keeping edible landscapes is an easily approachable and sustainable lifestyle. Anyone can do it.  As Pam Warhurst said, “if you eat food, you’re in!”

Your body, your community, your planet, and the future will thank you!