Have you ever thought of waste as a commodity? Maybe as a problem, or a nuisance, but not so much as something you could potentially use to turn a profit…Well, in Sweden, waste has become a rather profitable business.

Like every other country in the world, Sweden produces a ton of garbage every year. However, only about one percent of the 4.4 million tons of garbage collected every year ends up in landfills. So the Swedes must have some sort of magic secret to make all this waste disappear, right?! Close.

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Sweden has developed an energy recovery system that takes sorted, household garbage and converts this waste into energy. In fact, many Swedish households run on garbage. Given the success and efficiency of this system, Sweden has even started to import garbage from other European countries to create more energy for Swedish power grids.

Pretty cool, right? Of course, the method of taking garbage and incinerating it to create energy is not a completely “clean” form of energy production – but it is far better than the landfill alternative. Maybe the U.S. should look into making some of our trash “disappear.”