Back in 2014, I took a look at Sweden’s remarkable rate of recovery for its trash: only 1% of the materials Swedes throw away end up in a landfill. How does the country’s trash handler, Swedish Waste Management, achieve this? Well, they burn a lot of trash for energy and heat. While the company argues for the efficiency of this practice (which I have no reason to doubt), we’d also want to know that technology for scrubbing various toxins are in place. Otherwise, this could be a case of using one environmental evil to cover for another… But, what if we didn’t burn all of our trash, but took a look at just recovering biomass: organic materials ranging from cut grass to food waste to sawmill shavings? Rutgers University’s New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station has been doing this for years, and just released its latest report on the amount of usable biomass the state throws away. According to NJ Spotlight, the state sends over 4 million tons of usable “trash” to its landfills. That’s not only costing it money, but also contributing to over-reliance on fossil fuels, and the subsequent carbon emissions that stem from sources.
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