Tag Archives: sustainability

How many Master’s students does it take to Recycle?

Photo: Chuck Norris (Hermes Droghetti) feels good recycling

Q – How many Master’s students does it take to Recycle?

A – All four of us in the house. (ha ha ha) Fine, don’t laugh. I will make fun of you when your time comes 🙂

Keywords: environment consciousness

I think the Swedes have three national sports: queuing, kanelbulle eating, and recycling. I’m afraid soccer and ice hockey didn’t make the shortlist… sorry Zlatan. So, what I want to talk about today is Swedish recycling.

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Once upon a time I read an article about “Sweden ran out of garbage” (google it, interesting read). The recycling companies pick up categorized garbage. Your food waste lives a glorious afterlife as they are turned into energy. But it is really true. Some of the key points from that article…

 

  • 250,000 homes are powered by garbage
  • 80,000 tons of garbage is imported from Norway

 

 

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Random story:

I was traveling in Japan this summer. I was impressed by the cleanness of the streets in Japan. What I found even more interesting is that you don’t find garbage bins easily in public. I met an American guy, who was sent to Japan by his company to learn about good practices for export to America, and he pointed out Japanese people bring separated garbage from home and recycle them at local subway stations. I was mind blown!

Perhaps Sweden can win the “silver medal” in recycling. Once you land in Sweden, you should walk around your neighborhood and find the miljöstation (Garbage station). You will be amazed by how specific each bin is! In my block, we have three disposal locations for various types of garbage. (I confess I haven’t figured them out to the fullest extent yet.)

Recycle

Sure, I enjoy separating paper from everyday waste. I have a great time putting organic waste in decompost bag. But beyond that, frankly, I found the detailed recycling a nuisance in the begining. Three month later, I have six garbage bins in my kitchen! I think I got a master’s degree in sustainability.

 

Again, good for you Sweden. Rest of the world, learn!*

*note, I’m not sure how well the Swedish recycling system will work elsewhere in the world. However, I’m sure if we all put in a little effort separating our garbage, we will do this planet some good.

 

Fun exercise, I was staring at the label of two bins for five minutes and I couldn’t figure out the difference between the two. Can you spot the difference?

Bottle colors

Why don’t you go to ____ ? Why Sweden…

“Why don’t you go to Germany if you are studying Automotive Engineering…?” I get asked this question asked a lot back in Canada. “I like Sweden…Volvo, IKEA, and Swedish Meatballs” and I can say it with a straight face.

Perhaps my motivation is more personal. I got a set of Matchbox cars on my sixth birthday. My favorite one is the Volvo 480. I played with it so intensively you can barely notice the original white body paint. And who doesn’t like IKEA?

Let me explain further. I used to live in Norway, so I got to know a bit about “Scandinavian design”. In particular, I am very impressed by the Swedish forward-thinking mentality.  For example, Volvo engineers placed heavy emphasis on vehicle safety since the beginning. This is unheard-of during the era when other car manufacturers prioritized performance by fitting the biggest engine under the hood. Yet, Volvo cars are highly reliable and stay on the road longer than any other cars.

Swedish goods are also renowned for durability and stylish design. IKEA is an excellent testament to that statement. IKEA furniture holds timeless aesthetics through simplistic design. It is extremely functional, easy to transport and assemble. In my mind, the Billy series bookshelf is an icon no smaller than the Volkswagen Beetle.At the end of a product’s lifecycle, the country recycles and disposes garbage in an effective fashion. That is something the rest of the world can adaptor from Sweden.

In addition, I am a fan of unrestricted camping in gorgeous landscapes (check out Jesus’ blog on his camping trip here). The Swedish society understands sustainability and protects the environment dearly.

You may not agree with me on any of these points. Anyways, apply to Swedish school now and I will try to prove my points to you in the coming year. Food for thought. Yes! Last but not least, Swedish meatballs are delicious, simply put.