Saturday, July 7, 2012

Recycling Adventures in Eskilstuna

Recycling is taken very seriously in Sweden which is pretty cool. I have seen it handled differently in different areas of Sweden. In Uppsala, my friends work very hard to compost the food scraps, and sort through plastic and glass that can be returned for the deposit, plastic and glass that should just be recycled, newspapers separated from other paper packing materials, egg cartons, milk cartons, etc.

I am on my summer vacation and just spent a week in a small town located about 45 minutes west of Stockholm, near Eskilstuna. They have a recycling system there that involves sorting everything into different colored plastic bags. The bags are then tied off and all are put into the same trash bin which is set out at the curb and collected once a week.

I found it was actually a lot easier than sorting the trash in Uppsala where everyone tries to figure out their own system and it's awkward. Also, there you then have to take the assorted recycling in your car or on foot to the nearest recycling bins.

The Eskilstuna system, which is managed by Eskilstuna Energi & Milj√∂ (website only in Swedish) is so simple, they wrote the directions explaining which color goes with which recyling in the form of a toddler's board book (a thick-paged book, the kind toddlers gnaw on when they are not reading). Here are a few pictures:
The book explaining the color-coded recycling system was designed to look like a toddler's board book.

"It's childishly simple to color sort!" (wait, is "childishly" a real word?)

Pages explaining what goes into the green bag and what goes into the orange bag.
You can ask for more bags at any time. I believe there are six colors used to split the trash into 6 different kinds of recycling. You are to use a regular, recycled grocery bag for the few things that fit into none of the categories.

It takes a little time to learn what goes where and one must dedicate an area somewhere for all these bags. They were just in the cabinet under the sink where I stayed. Some were held open by small containers and some were just sitting on the floor of the cabinet. The friend that owns the house where we stayed rents out part of the house in the summer, usually to people from Germany or Poland. These guests have to learn the system as well. But hey, it's childishly simple in any language!

1 comment:

  1. Very cool. We just put all the recyclables in the great big bin with wheels and then wheel it down to the sidewalk. Easy peezy!! No sorting only making sure everything is clean. Glad you had time to get a little vacation in! :o)