Like many other nationalities Swedes recycle their garbage. But I’d go as far as saying that sorting out your garbage and leaving it at recycling stations has almost become a part of the Swedish identity. If someone opens the space below your sink without finding a mess of different bags to sort out your waste, you will almost be looked upon as immoral. Even our pop stars do it – just watch the classical clip below from The Daily Show, where the reporter visits Swedish singer Robyn to check out her “crib”, but ends up with her not so glamorous recycling bags… (starts at around 4 minutes into the clip, although the whole clip is quite hilarious)
But it’s not like recycling is a new idea. Right now there is an exhibition on at Nordiska Museet in Stockholm,putting the spotlight at Swedish garbage and showing that back in the days recycling, fixing and reusing was the only acceptable thing to do even if there weren’t any recycling bins. To be honest, earlier generations were at a level that even today’s more advanced recyclers aren’t anyway near. There simply was no garbage, everything could be of use. Look for example at this invention for drying washed plastic bags, or the patched trousers, or shoes handed down for generations.
Every year the average Swede throws about 480 kilos of garbage. About half of the household waste goes to material or biological recycling. So, if you don’t want to embarrass yourself when opening the kitchen sink cupboard in a Swedish home, be prepared to classify the piece of trash you are holding in your hand into one of the following categories:
- Organic waste
- Glass (coloured or uncoloured?)
- Electrical products
- Hazardous waste (like paints, solvents, medicines etc)
If it doesn’t fit into any of these categories you might have to search for a while. For people who recycle the waste the “normal” garbage can tends to be almost invisible. There simply isn’t much left to fill it with.
From now on I will once in a while link to interesting articles in Swedish media. They are in Swedish, but Google Translate could give an idea about the Swedish coverage of these issues.
Today: The EU can stop Swedish wolf hunting.