Energy Recover in Sweden: a Case Study

Marco Tsuyama


Sweden has reached prominent figures both in waste management and reducing greenhouse gases emissions. Less than 1 percent of its municipal solid waste is landfilled, and the other 99 percent is harnessed by either recycling or producing energy. It helped the country’s decarbonization, as its GDP raised 75% while its emission decreased 26% during the period 1990-2016. This is why the Sweden is a benchmarking either regarding waste management and economy decarbonization. This paper had the objective to identify key success factors that could inspire better practices in regulation and public policies regarding the energy and material recovering from municipal solid waste. To accomplish the goal it was held nine incineration plants technical visits, as well 19 Sweden experts were interviewed. It was delivered a overview of the stage of excellence of Sweden regarding waste and energy policies and 12 success factors were outlined. The key factors can be reunited in four groups: (a) holistic policy approach regarding diverse public demands; (b) integration of recycling and energy recovery from waste; (c) use of economic instruments such as taxes and tariffs in order to discourage harmful and incentive positive practices; (d) municipality’s autonomy with economic and operational capacity. The key factors can also be useful lessons to decision and opinion makers of other countries to formulate strategies that can contribute to improve performance regarding proper waste destination and decarbonization of the economy.

Key-words: Waste Management, Decarbonization, Sweden, Energy Recovering, Waste-to-Energy, Low Carbon Economy.

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