Norway Needs More Trash

May 15, 2013

by Alex Francis

Oslo, Norway

photo by EOS1982 |

While most places are struggling to deal with an ever-increasing production of waste, Oslo, Norway, has quite a different problem: they don’t have enough of it.

Nearly half of Norway’s capital city, including the majority of its schools, depends on the energy produced by burning garbage to heat their buildings. In fact, all of Northern Europe has the capacity to convert up to 700 million tons of waste and counting into heat and electricity every year—but it only produces roughly 150 million tons within the same time frame.

That leaves the area with a significant amount of potential for energy production, but without enough resources (read: trash) to fuel it.

The Complexities of the European Waste Market

It almost isn’t proper to refer to the area’s garbage as “waste” anymore—cast-off refuse has actually turned into a desirable commodity throughout Northern Europe, leading to a growing European waste market.

Because the capacity to incinerate garbage is so high in Northern Europe, countries in the surrounding areas have begun sending their trash across borders. England has begun exporting its waste, and shipping trash to Norway is actually cheaper for the British than paying the tax to send it to the landfill. Oslo itself is the happy recipient of garbage from England, Ireland, and Sweden.

But, unfortunately, not all garbage is created equal.

Naples in Southern Italy is currently facing a garbage crisis of sorts (their dumps are full to capacity and trash is being left uncollected in the streets), but Oslo refused to accept their trash, choosing instead to continue importing “the cleaner and safer English waste.” Naples was thus forced to pay cities in the Netherlands and Germany to takes their waste off of their hands.

The trash in Oslo is meticulously sorted, with glass, food waste, plastic, and other garbage going into different colored bags. They are now looking to import more garbage from the United States in order to keep up with energy-production needs.

Help Mitigate the Production of Waste

Whether the United States starts exporting its garbage to Norway or not, you can start keeping trash out of landfills today by responsibly recycling your cell phones and other electronic waste with CJ Environmental. Precious metals are finite resources, and it is important to reuse and refine them as efficiently as possible. Visit to learn more and find out how easy it is to help.

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