Let it Burn

Hey peeps, sorry for the delay on my posts but it’s been a crazy week with deadlines 😀 (nervous laugh) nevertheless, you got me here! As you can read from the title, this post will be about fire… fire used in incineration plants, where companies burn trash in order to produce electricity and heating (pretty useful in the case of cold countries like Sweden). Last week with the course on Waste Management that I’m taking at KTH, we had a field trip to Vattenfall’s incineration plant in Uppsala… cool selfie of my German friend Ben and me…

At this incineration plant Vattenfall produces electricity and more than 90% from all the heating needed in Uppsala, 4th largest city in Sweden. The electricity comes from burning the trash that will help boil water (by a heat exchanger), water will boil and steam will be produced; this steam will be used as the fuel to move a turbine that will produce electricity. Heat is also produced in a high efficient combustion and helps keeping the houses in the surrounding warm. Unfortunately it was forbidden to take pictures inside the plant, but trust me it was amazing watching through a thick glass the combustion chamber. It was like a huge pile of garbage on fire haha (literally like a 4 floors high fire flame) and the inside temperature was about 850ºC.

Sweden’s electricity comes roughly 50 % from burning trash… good right? No fossil oil, gasoline or diesel burned, right? Well… NO! The process is efficient, YES, but it’s not as good or as “green” as you may think! Why? Let’s think about what a common bag or garbage may contain…

  • Some organic waste when it’s not properly separated (food, wood, etc)
  • Some metals (cans for example)
  • Some carton from packaging
  • Some crystal…

…but the most important content in our garbage…

  • PLASTIC! Large amount of plastic packaging and most of the times the bag itself!

Let’s remember that there is not such a thing as the “avg. garbage bag”, but it estimated between 20-50% of plastic content in household waste!!!  If you are still struggling connecting the dots, plastic comes from FOSSIL FUELS! So literally burning garbage is burning fossil fuels (in less amounts and controlled way of course).

In conclusion, an incineration plant helps get rid of the waste in an “efficient” way where companies can recover energy from the process to obtain heating and electricity. Does incineration is the best way to help the planet, NO! The best way according to the waste hierarchy is to

  1. REDUCE CONSUMPTION (let’s stop buying things that we don’t need),
  2. REUSING (come on, give it a second opportunity if possible),
  3. RECYCLING (let’s sort our residues properly :D),
  4. ENERGY RECOVERY (Ok… now let ’em burn!),
  5. LANDFILL (The least preferred 🙁 nothing else can be done with the residues so they have to be buried)

Hope you liked the topic! Don’t forget to subscribe, share and comment 😀 all the feedback makes this blog better for you guys!

Roundtable to Save the World

Hey Stockholmers have you already followed on FB our friends from KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory? If not, do it now! Why? So you don’t miss the cool events they plan constantly for all of us!

Their next event will be taking place next Tuesday (Feb 20th) at Arena Idé (nearest station Hötorget) and is going to be a public event where researchers and practitioners in the field of climate change and migration in the urban realm will present their ideas and scenarios on how to respond holistically to these 2 issues. This event will be moderated by Ileana lengo from KTH and will have Renato Accorinti Mayor of Messina, Ashley Dawson City University of New York and Princeton Environment Institute, Eleonora de Mayo City Counsellor of Napoli, Toni Ridas Barcelona en comú, and Lise Sedrez Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro as participants.

Don’t forget to check the event for more information and register to take part in this amazing experience!

International Sustainable Campus Network

Hey peeps! Just received the news that KTH will be hosting the 12th annual International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) conference in June. What is ISCN? Well, ISCN is…

a non-profit association of globally leading colleges and universities representing over 30 countries and working together to holistically integrate sustainability into campus operations, research and teaching.

Last year this conference was held by our Canadian fellows from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, so now that it will be held here in Sthlm, are you interested in having free access to the conferences (worth 3,300 SEK)? Do you want to share and have lunch for free during the day? Click here to get more info on how you can contribute to get this and more!

It is important that for you to apply, you must be an undergraduate, Masters, or Ph.D. student at KTH during the time of the conference.

Find more information about ISCN here.

1, 2, 3 Squat and Rubbish

While procrastinating this weekend instead of doing the mountain of homework that I have, I read an article that -let’s say- amazed me. Why? well, because is something that I haven’t been witness of and it seems that is gaining a lot of coverage from the media. This thing originated and is currently happening in Sweden… I’m talking about PLOGGING! Plo-what?! Better described by our friends from the British newspaper The Telegraph, plogging is…

participants picking up plastic litter while jogging!

Ploggers -as they are described by World Economic Forum- have been spotted in different cities such as Paris. Quite amazing don’t you think so? Well, if it’s not amazing for you I want you to remember that we live in a world where each year produces 1.3 BILLION TONNES of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and is expected to produce 2.5 BILLION TONNES by 2025 (World Bank, 2010)… trust me that not all of this trash is treated correctly, so yeah, going out to do some exercise and ending up cleaning the streets seems a funny activity to do 😀

What do you think about this practice? I find it really awesome because it’s about humans working together for a better environment. Now, I’m not asking you to go out right away jogging to pick up trash, but what about next time that you are walking and you see a cup, a plastic bag or bottle on the floor and you pick it up and put it in the trash can? I can assure you that it will make you feel great (I’ve tried it many times), and who knows, if someone else sees you doing that you may transmit this positive action to someone else! Don’t be scare and pick up some rubbish! 😀

See this video posted on WEF’s FB page about plogging! And read some info here.

There’s a new Swedish fitness craze that keeps you healthy and saves the planet

Are you a plogger? Learn more: http://wef.ch/2C7utmQ

Publicerat av World Economic Forum den 10 februari 2018

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This entry was posted in Home.

Look at that Butt

Do you smoke? Do you know someone who smokes? There’s a topic that’s been in mind for a couple of weeks that you may find quite interesting. Let’s be clear, this post WILL NOT try to persuade you to quit smoking, but WILL BE about the residues that around 75% of smokers toss on the streets…
Cigarette Butts!

Sweden has the lowest rate when it comes to people who actually smoke cigarette, it’s is only 5% of the population. The reason of that, is that the Swedish Government allow people to buy a thing called “snus” (moist powdered tobacco) that comes in a tinny bag and people put it in their mouths somewhere between the gums and the lips. Still, some people of that 5% manage to toss out the c-butt on the streets.

So as I said it before, I’m not here to make you change your mind about smoking, but at least put the butt in the garbage! Remember that wildlife like birds could eat this residue full of chemicals, but…

The chemicals found in one cigarette butt can leach out and contaminate approximately 7.5 liters of water within one hour.


Want to know more about recycling C-butts? Look at this amazing video from National Geographic about this residue and how it could be recycled 😀 Don’t forget to comment and subscribe!