Oslo's Weird Problem: Not Enough Garbage

Waste-to-energy plants running out of stuff to burn

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 30, 2013 3:09 AM CDT | Updated May 4, 2013 1:13 PM CDT

(Newser) – Oslo has got a problem a lot of cities would love to share: a major shortage of garbage. Around half of the Norwegian capital is heated by garbage-burning power plants, but with recycling rates very high, the plants simply can't get enough of the stuff, the New York Times finds. The city has been importing trash from as far away as Ireland, but it faces stiff competition from cities across northern Europe including Stockholm, which has persuaded some Norwegian towns to give it their garbage.

Northern Europe's incinerating plants have the capacity to handle more than 700 million tons of trash a year, but the region produces less than a quarter of that. New plants are still being built in Sweden, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, leaving the chief of Oslo's waste-to-energy agency wondering where all the trash is going to come from. "I’d like to take some from the United States," he says. "Sea transport is cheap."

The city of Naples may be able to assist Oslo with its trash shortage.
The city of Naples may be able to assist Oslo with its trash shortage.   (AP Photo/Salvatore Laporta)
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