With mountains of stuff we throw away literally ‘going to waste’ in landfills – where it emits greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to global climate change – some countries are turning to garbage as another source of energy.

By incinerating waste from households, businesses and industry, SYSAV supplies both district heating and electricity to local communities in southern Sweden. After decades of operation, the locals also enjoy the benefits of reclaimed land turned into parks.

How does waste-to-energy (WTE) work?

Inside the SYSAV Plant in Malmö, Sweden

Globally, garbage is a massive problem, with many complex aspects explored in the photos and (hidden) captions below. While considering whether WTE is an effective solution, we’d like you to keep in mind some ‘big-picture’ questions.

walkinenergy-favicon-64px How much waste would you guess the World produces daily? [1]
walkinenergy-favicon-64px What country produces the most waste per person? [2]
walkinenergy-favicon-64px What industries produce the most waste? [3]
walkinenergy-favicon-64px What does it say about our ‘throw-away’ society that one small region in Sweden can supply heat and electricity by burning waste 24/7? [4]
walkinenergy-favicon-64px Can WTE be a sustainable energy source in developing countries, where both energy and infrastructure for waste management are lacking? [5]
walkinenergy-favicon-64px How much waste do you throw out weekly? Can you think of ways to make it less? [6]