Every day, some 300 trucks arrive at a plant outside the city of Göteborg on the west coast of Sweden. They carry garbage, but they are not there to dump the cargo. Instead, they deliver it to the plant’s special ovens, which burn it, providing heat to thousands of local homes.
“The only fuel we use is waste,” says Christian Löwhagen, a spokesman for Renova, the local government-owned energy company operating the plant. “It provides one-third of heat for households in this region.” Across Sweden, 950,000 homes are heated by trash; this lowly resource also provides electricity for 260,000 homes across the country, according to statistics from Avfall Sverige, Sweden’s national waste-management association.