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Sweden Piles Up Toxic Ash on Norway Island

| Written by Neil Seldman | No Comments | Updated on May 21, 2015 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

From Antonia Bruno from

Sweden is frequently touted as a model for the U.S. to follow, with its low landfilling rates, high “recycling” rates, and “waste-to-energy.” However, there are some major problems with these claims. Sweden burns more than 50% of its waste and calls it recycling. Furthermore, they count the toxic ash produced by incineration (most of which gets landfilled) as industrial waste rather than municipal waste, hence escaping the municipal waste statistics. And now we’ve learned that in fact this toxic fly ash from incineration is being dumped on a small Island Norway, where the toxins pose a serious health threat to local communities and marine ecosystems.

As increasing attention is paid to Sweden, let’s use this article to make sure that the right story is being told: incineration is not a model for the world to follow, it’s just another dirty step before landfilling. The zero waste cities and communities forming all across Europe are true solutions that protect the planet and public health.


Sweden Piles Up Toxic Waste on Norway Island – May 12, 2015
Sweden dumped over half a million tons of toxic ash from waste incinerators on a small island just outside Oslo, local media reported Tuesday.  The news of the highly toxic fly ash which has for the past five years been sent to Langøya Island, just outside Oslo, for treatment, caused an angry outcry among Norwegian environmentalists who demanded that the Swedes take care of their own toxic waste.


About Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D., co-founded the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and serves as Senior Staff of the Waste to Wealth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and counties recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy  through new processing and manufacturing facilities.  Neil also serves on ILSR’s Board of Directors.

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