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Earth Technology

Oslo Needs Your Garbage 202

Posted by samzenpus
from the burning-down-the-pile dept.
lister king of smeg writes in with news that Oslo is running out of garbage which it burns to generate heat and electricity. "Oslo, a recycling-friendly place where roughly half the city and most of its schools are heated by burning garbage — household trash, industrial waste, even toxic and dangerous waste from hospitals and drug arrests — has a problem: it has literally run out of garbage to burn. The problem is not unique to Oslo, a city of 1.4 million people. Across Northern Europe, where the practice of burning garbage to generate heat and electricity has exploded in recent decades, demand for trash far outstrips supply." Back in October we told you about a similar garbage shortage facing Sweden.
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Oslo Needs Your Garbage

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:35AM (#43606633)

    just get more americans to settle there... best waste producers in the world !

    • by mitgib (1156957)
      Or ship garbage from NYC that always seems to be in the news for a barge without a dock
  • Reword (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:36AM (#43606645)

    The point isn't that Oslo doesn't produce enough garbage, it's that it uses more electricity than burning garbage can produce and because of high energy costs it's somehow cheaper to import garbage from Romania and Bulgaria than domestic generation costs.

    • Well most countries would pay for someone else to deal with their garbage.
      Definitely makes it cheaper.

      • by kermidge (2221646)

        If Oslo et al paid for transpo costs, the U.S. would be in a fine situation. We could supply them for decades, I should think.

        • Re:Reword (Score:5, Funny)

          by NF6X (725054) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @01:02AM (#43606751) Homepage
          Indeed! I'm going to be renting a dumpster soon for some long overdue spring cleaning. If Oslo dropped off a dumpster at my place in southern California, I'd be happy to fill it up for them a few times.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by nightcats (1114677)
          There's an old motto among plumbers (the real ones who work with pipes and stuff, not Nixon-era crooks), which loosely applies here: "your s#!t is our bread and butter."
    • Re:Reword (Score:5, Informative)

      by Z00L00K (682162) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @01:15AM (#43606815) Homepage

      Most of the burned garbage is used to feed central heating systems. Same with a lot of other cities in Scandinavia. A few large central furnaces and a big network of hot water pipes.

      Not so much to produce electricity. Most of the electricity in Scandinavia is water power or nuclear with a few coal/oil burners that are used for backup in case the current production is insufficient. Add to it a number of windmills but their contribution is small.

      • Re:Reword (Score:4, Interesting)

        by skovnymfe (1671822) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:13AM (#43607165)
        Denmark doesn't have hydro power (no mountains) and it doesn't have nuclear (oooh, Chernobyl..!). It's primarily the burning of natural gas and coal, plus whatever the wind farms produce, that keeps the lights on.
        • Re:Reword (Score:5, Informative)

          by KonoWatakushi (910213) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @04:19AM (#43607357)

          Denmark depends on their neighbors pumped hydro to dump excess wind generation, and draw upon when the wind isn't blowing. Nice arrangement for them, as it is essential for the success of wind or solar. Sadly, availability is limited, and Germany's choice to abandon nuclear is also stressing the grid in that region, and causing trouble for neighboring nations.

          • I remember reading that Germany was stressing its neighbors grid by producing too much electricity from wind-farms.
      • Re:Reword (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @04:29AM (#43607389)

        Most of the burned garbage is used to feed central heating systems. Same with a lot of other cities in Scandinavia. A few large central furnaces and a big network of hot water pipes.

        Not so much to produce electricity. Most of the electricity in Scandinavia is water power or nuclear with a few coal/oil burners that are used for backup in case the current production is insufficient. Add to it a number of windmills but their contribution is small.

        In Sweden (starting with Sweden, since I'm Swedish), windmills make out about 1/20 (slightly more, this far into 2013) of the total of the electricity produced that reach the public distribution network (it is also the second (after solar power) largest electric power production technology that produce electricity for local use by private buildings, and that production is not part of the official statistics). It is roughly the same amount of electricity that is produced in Sweden by waste heat from industry (most "waste" heat is reused for central heating, not electricity production, and Swedish industry is really good at reusing heat in production (e.g. compared to U.S. industry, which that, for example, use 20 times more energy to create heat per produced unit in smeltwerks and 10 times more in paper mills)). The wind turbines contribution to Swedens electricity production grew by 18% in 2012, and is still growing at an accelerated rate.

        I'm not sure that I would call more then 1/20 of electricity production for a country with a small population, but with a huge heavy industry (mostly producing iron and copper or products made of steel and copper, and paper, all very power consuming processes), a small contribution.

        In Denmark wind power stand for more then 1/4 of the electricity production and consumption. And most of the technology they use to produce it is several decades old, so the production will grow as they replace old technology with newer more efficient one. Most electrical energy used in Denmark is used for farming or food production (most of the bacon consumed in the world is produced in Denmark). Denmarks protectorate Iceland, mostly use thermal power, but wind power is on the rise. Its other large protectorate, Greenland, is mostly dependent on fossil fuel. But the amount of electricity consumed by the small Icelandic and Greenlandic populations is minuscule, compared to that used by main Denmark.

        I'm not sure that I would call more then 1/4 of electricity production for a small country a small contribution.

        Norway mostly rely on water power for their energy needs. But the last 2 years they've built new wind power plants even faster then Sweden.

        Sweden, Denmark and Norway are self sufficient when it comes to energy consumption. Small amounts of electricity is imported from other European countries during consumption peaks and exported during production peaks.

        • by Iskender (1040286)

          I'm not sure that I would call more then 1/20 of electricity production for a country with a small population, but with a huge heavy industry (mostly producing iron and copper or products made of steel and copper, and paper, all very power consuming processes), a small contribution.

          You should be sure though. 5% is 5%, the population or usage doesn't matter. 5% is small.

          If that 5% were somehow permanently knocked out it wouldn't be a huge problem. The other 95% is vital on the other hand.

          I like wind power, and it's obvious you do too. But you shouldn't let it cloud your sense of proportions.

        • Re:Reword (Score:4, Informative)

          by ibwolf (126465) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @07:33AM (#43608019)

          Denmarks protectorate Iceland, mostly use thermal power, but wind power is on the rise. Its other large protectorate,

          Iceland has NOT been a "protectorate" of Denmark for nearly 70 years. Also, wind power is NOT on the rise here. There is currently only one test wind mast (and that blew down recently, not sure if they have it back up) with no plans for further development. We do, however, have plenty of hydro and geothermal energy.

      • by dj245 (732906)

        Most of the burned garbage is used to feed central heating systems. Same with a lot of other cities in Scandinavia. A few large central furnaces and a big network of hot water pipes.

        Not so much to produce electricity. Most of the electricity in Scandinavia is water power or nuclear with a few coal/oil burners that are used for backup in case the current production is insufficient. Add to it a number of windmills but their contribution is small.

        There is quite a lot of cogen too. If you are burning the fuel anyway, it makes a lot of sense to use the high-temperature combustion gasses to boil water at high temperature and then run a steam turbine. The steam needed for heating houses, running laundromats, heating businesses, etc is extracted at some point in the turbine.

        Why? We can burn a fuel at several thousand degrees F. However, the best pipes we can make can only stand about 1100F (600C) and 3500psi, and these are very expensive and prob

        • by Z00L00K (682162)

          Except here it's not steam pipes - it's hot water that's pumped through the net, so even if it springs a leak it's not going to be a problem.

  • Choice quotes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Of course, other areas of Europe are producing abundant amounts of garbage, including southern Italy, where cities like Naples paid towns in Germany and the Netherlands to accept garbage, helping to defuse a Neapolitan garbage crisis. Yet though Oslo considered the Italian garbage, it preferred to stick with what it said was the cleaner and safer English waste. “It’s a sensitive question,” Mr. Mikkelsen said.

    In a hierarchy of environmental goals, Mr. Haltbrekken said, producing less garbage should take first place, while generating energy from garbage should be at the bottom. “The problem is that our lowest priority conflicts with our highest one,” he said.

    “So now we import waste from Leeds and other places, and we also had discussions with Naples,” he added. “We said, ‘O.K., so we’re helping the Neapolitans,’ but that’s not a long-term strategy.”

    “In the short-term view, of course, it’s better to burn the garbage in Oslo than to leave it in Leeds or Bristol.”

    But “in the long term,” he said, “no.”

    • by SpzToid (869795)

      Amsterdam has invested in a huge facility for converting trash into electricity, and is improving the barge infrastructure so it can import more waste from neighboring countries. Anecdotally it seems to be a more efficient approach to create electricity, (and salvageable metals), as opposed to merely heat. The trams run on electricity, for example.

      http://www.amsterdam.nl/aeb/english [amsterdam.nl]

  • Nothing new (Score:5, Informative)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:41AM (#43606667)

    This started decades ago already.

    First step was to keep compostables out of the trash (kitchen and garden wastes). Direct result: the rest of the trash, including lots of plastic and some paper, burned much hotter than it used to with all the wet stuff inside. And that caused problems for the ovens that were built for a different kind of fuel mix.

    Over the recent years more and more plastics are being taken out from the trash. First the PET bottles, nowadays in large parts of Europe all kinds of plastic packing material has to be kept separate.

    Most of the stuff that burns well (paper, plastics, organic wastes) is being recycled now, and kept out of the incinerators. What remains: not much, really. Some glass, stone, metals. Not much that burns well. Some wood will burn, some plastic that's attached to something else or otherwise ended up in the wrong bin. Baby diapers will burn quite well, too, as that's mostly paper and plastics. Rags that are so worn they're not offered to some charity.

    Now indeed the volume of trash is decreasing (anything that's taken out to recycle is not trash), and the trash that's there won't burn as well as it used to. So no surprise really that it's causing problems for the operators of waste incinerators.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      And honestly, I'd say that's a good thing. You're running out of waste. It's convenient to use waste to produce electricity, but it's not efficient nor really environmentally friendly (sure, it's not in the ground anymore, but it's in the air instead). You're much better off reusing/recycling whatever you can and scaling up more efficient energy sources instead.
      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        Absolutely. Reduce, reuse, recycle. And if that all fails: recover the energy out of it.

        Stuff like medical waste and hazardous waste are burned in special incinerators using lots of oil or gas, as these wastes (that often won't burn well by themselves, if at all) must be burned at really high temperatures to render them harmless. That will always continue, and recovering that heat and putting it to some other use is just an economically sound thing to do.

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        Just realize that when burning in a large centralized furnace there is a possibility to control the process more and have more advanced filters to take out the worst stuff. Compare that to when everyone did burn coal in their own stove at home in London.

      • by Ost99 (101831)

        Burning the garbage is better than letting it rot and produce methane.
        Norway does both materials and energy recycling of garbage, ~45% is recycled for materials and ~40% is burnt to reclaim energy. Only ~15% goes on landfills.

      • Re:Nothing new (Score:5, Informative)

        by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:33AM (#43607221) Homepage

        Yeah, as the others have said they of course got good filtering, and likely burn at high temperatures / efficiently.

        Also feel free to look at this picture from MÃlarenergi (I guess it's in VÃsterÃ¥s, Sweden):
        http://www.malarenergi.se/PageFiles/8317/Illustration_BB.jpg [malarenergi.se]
        Missing the next part of the image.
        Here's the full "article" (in their own magazine) in Swedish describing the process and with the full picture:
        http://www.malarenergi.se/PageFiles/7417/Pages%20from%20nonstop-4-2012.pdf [malarenergi.se]
        A young kid interested in it:
        http://www.malarenergi.se/PageFiles/7417/Folke1_3.pdf [malarenergi.se]
        Page two here got the full illustration of how it's supposed to work, page one is a description in English - Enjoy.
        http://www.malarenergi.se/Documents/Broschyrer/fornyelseprojektet-eng-2013.pdf [malarenergi.se]

        http://www.malarenergi.se/sv/om-malarenergi/vara-anlaggningar/kraftvarmeverket/Valkommen-till-fornyelsebloggen/Blogginlagg/En-robust-bransleberedning-helt-avgorande-for-Block-6/ [malarenergi.se]
        http://www.malarenergi.se/sv/om-malarenergi/vara-anlaggningar/kraftvarmeverket/Valkommen-till-fornyelsebloggen/Blogginlagg/Varfor-bygger-Malarenergi-en-avfallsforbranningsanlaggning/ [malarenergi.se]
        http://www.malarenergi.se/sv/om-malarenergi/vara-anlaggningar/kraftvarmeverket/Valkommen-till-fornyelsebloggen/Blogginlagg/Avfall-som-bransle/ [malarenergi.se]
        http://www.malarenergi.se/sv/om-malarenergi/vara-anlaggningar/kraftvarmeverket/Valkommen-till-fornyelsebloggen/Blogginlagg/Miljo/ [malarenergi.se]
        http://www.malarenergi.se/sv/om-malarenergi/vara-anlaggningar/kraftvarmeverket/Valkommen-till-fornyelsebloggen/?category=turbine [malarenergi.se]

      • by Sique (173459)
        About twenty years ago I visited a waste burning plant in Mannheim, Germany. The guide was proud to tell us, that the air above the plant is of better quality than the air above downtown Mannheim due to all the filtering they do to the exhaust fumes.
        • I got the same lecture when I toured the local incinerator 15 years ago. Who thought watching garbage burn was so exciting? There wasn't any worries about running out of garbage either, that place was pretty busy. Even some of the byproducts of burning garbage were recycled. The remaining soot is turned into asphalt fill. The plant itself is self sustaining running off the electricity it produces.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jez9999 (618189)

        You're much better off reusing/recycling whatever you can

        Debatable. See this Penn & Teller Bullshit! episode [youtube.com], and consider how much empirical evidence you've actually seen that recycling is always best for the environment or whether, in many cases, it would actually be better to landfill stuff and create new stuff from scratch, especially things like glass where we have an effectively infinite supply of sand to create new glass with.

        • by EzInKy (115248)

          Penn and Teller are full of bullshit.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            While Bullshit! is entertainment and I occasionally disagree with them strenuously on some point or other, mostly because they're using specious reasoning like the appeal to authority, they're right about recycling. Much of what is "recycled" is simply sorted and then landfilled. And glass, in particular, should never be recycled. Toxic additives should be outlawed, and then it should just be dumped in the ocean someplace. We all like beach glass. It costs more energy to recycle it than to just replace it.

            • by mattack2 (1165421)

              mostly because they're using specious reasoning like the appeal to authority

              Could you give a few examples? (Does this mean I'm appealing to your authority??)

              I think Penn is very entertaining (I'm glad he has a podcast again), but I thought B.S. was mostly preaching to the choir with a few times when I very much disagreed with them. That doesn't mean it wasn't entertaining, I just stopped watching it at some point.

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          Actually, what it really comes down to is that recycling sucks, and reusing is much much better. For instance, if you're the sort of person who buys bottled water regularly, try just refilling the same bottle from the tap periodically instead of buying new bottles all the time.

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            That's why I feel the important part of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is left out. It's Reduce, Reuse, Recycle IN THAT ORDER. One of the best things we can do for our environment is to stop using so much stuff in the first place. Or if you do use stuff. Make sure it's reusable. It's not so good for the environment to recycle plastic water bottles all the time, when you could just have a reusable one. They even have ones that roll up so you don't have to worry so much about carrying around a big empty bottle. It'
        • by denzacar (181829) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @08:35AM (#43608319) Journal

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penn_%26_Teller:_Bullshit!#Environmental_skepticism [wikipedia.org]

          Environmental skepticism

          Penn & Teller describe themselves as environmental skeptics. They have made several television appearances attempting to discredit environmental concerns. The "Environmental Hysteria" episode attempted to "prove the global warming crisis, among other things, was created by the out of control imagination of hysterical hippies and environmentalists".

          When subsequently challenged at the James Randi Educational Foundation's The Amazing Meeting 6 about their views on global warming, Penn Jillette published a piece in the Los Angeles Times saying "I don't know about climate change".[16]

          Also:

          Penn acknowledged his and Teller's biases, saying, "We're fair and we never take people out of context. We're biased, but we try to be honest."

          I.e. Biased and with an agenda.
          Seek information on recycling and environment elsewhere.
          All Penn and Teller provide on that topic is one-sided, "mean-spirited, sanctimonious and self-righteous" bullshit.

          Also bigoted, as Jillette's idea of being "fair when one is being mean-spirited, sanctimonious and self-righteous" is saying "Hey! What do I know? [latimes.com] Sure. I'm being an asshole and I'm spouting nonsense from my position of authority (just look at all the other crazy shit I very loudly rant about on TV - all the shit I rant about MUST BE crazy) - but it's not like I reeeaaaly know anything.
          Cause, in essence - you simply can't know some things. They are beyond our comprehension..."

          They are bigoted assholes, just like the creationists bible-thumpers . It's just that they are YOUR KIND of assholes.

          • by jfengel (409917)

            The op-ed piece you link to is quite bizarre. "Is there no ignorance allowed on this one subject?" What kind of allowance is he looking for? An allowance to say wrong things, from a bully pulpit on TV, and in particular one whose format is to call others out on their own misstatements, without having those who aren't ignorant call you out on it?

            What the hell is he driving at? It looks for all the world like he knows that he's wrong and is turning himself inside-out to avoid having to admit it.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          So we have an unlimited amount of landfill space?

          Penn & Teller are willing to store all of this for us?

        • by Politburo (640618)
          If sand were the only input to glassmaking, perhaps. But energy is also a large input, glass furnaces run up to 1500 degC. It takes less energy to melt existing glass than it does to make new glass.

          Waste glass (which is called cullet) can also be recycled into other products. This typically replaces sand, so what's the point? While sand may be plentiful, it must also be collected, refined/sorted, and shipped to the point of manufacture. Glass is used everywhere, and in many parts of the country we're alrea
    • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @01:01AM (#43606749) Journal

      Baby diapers will burn quite well, too, as that's mostly paper and plastics.

      With one HELL of an organic deposit in them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There was an excellent comment on The Register [theregister.co.uk] earlier this week examining this very question:

        "You could always burn your own dung for heat and cooking!"

        I doubt it. If the tods are dry enough, and your diet high enough in plant materials, then there's a chance it will give out some modest heat because the lignin fibres that your body hasn't digested do have a similar energy content as wood fibres of similar weight. But lookin at what Lester's selected the rice doesn't look to be whole grain, eggs will leave nothing, chick peas will be good, so on balance I reckon he'll be crimping off lengths of regular clay, and that doesn't burn well even if dried.

        If you don't have any other choices, dried elephant dung picked up off the African savannah may be a just about useable fuel, but for the reasons above I doubt that Reg writer droppings will be anything like as good. This is why sewage plant companies have to use fossil fuels to incinerate sewage sludges. If Lester has got some of the fine sieves used in (for example) sedimentology, then he could dissolve his dreadnoughts and used tissue in a bucket of water, and filter the resulting solution, rinse a few times, and he'll have the lignin fibres on their own, ready to use as soon as they are dried. Even so, any neighbours may take issue with Lester's renewables, and the actual energy recovered will be very small indeed. Like most other forms of renewable energy, in fact.

    • Re:Nothing new (Score:4, Informative)

      by hankwang (413283) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:11AM (#43607033) Homepage

      "What remains: not much, really. Some glass, stone, metals. Not much that burns well."

      I'm not sure what country you're describing, but here in the Netherlands, we separate paper, glass, plastic packaging (PE, PET, PP, PS), organic waste, electrical equipment, chemical waste. Stones (e.g. from breaking down a wall) are not supposed to be mixed with household waste. Laminated materials such as potato crisp bags and milk cartons, styrofoam, discarded household items go into the "other waste" bin. I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to, but plastic with food scraps sticking onto it don't make it to my plastics container since I don't want them to rot and smell. My trash bags will burn pretty well.

      For the Netherlands, I think company offices are a big contributor to incinerable waste. They separate the paper, but not the plastics. Many company restaurants are not separating compostable waste from what the employees leave on their trays.

      • In a local college town, I remember seeing ads not to toss your pizza boxes in with the rest of the cardboard recycling, because it will contaminate the whole batch. Sounds like you're doing it right!
    • by enz (744942)
      It might be true that the ovens need to be run with different parameters or even built differently, but taking the wet garden and kitchen waste out of the mix is a good thing. Obviously some energy goes into drying the wet components before they can burn. Also, if the burning plant is used for electricity generation (and many plants in Europe are hybrid, i.e. they produce both electricity and heat), then burning at a hotter temperature produces more electricity out of the same amount of trash (see Carnot's
      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        Taking all that garden and kitchen waste out is certainly a good thing: that's why they do it in the first place.

        Some power plants may be hybrids, for most heat is waste. The problem of heat is the transportation - and it has a relatively low economic value. You can only reuse heat if you have someone that needs the heat close by. With power plants far from the cities, heating homes with waste heat is often not practical. And in summer you don't need to heat your homes, while the power plants still have thi

        • Paradoxically you can actually run an aircon off waste heat using an absorption cooler so central heat (or steam depending on how the plant is set up) can be just as useful in summer as in winter. A lot of places in NYC are air-conditioned this way actually...
          • by wvmarle (1070040)

            Many places in the world (like most of Europe) only need heating in winter, no cooling in summer (other than large shopping malls and so).

    • by gravious (19912)

      Here in Ireland local councils have been trying to get waste incinerators built for years but because of NIMBYism it still hasn't happened yet. Environmental concerns are also cited (prions I think?). So the good folk of Ireland are against incineration, nuclear, fracking, wind farms to name but a few 20th century technologies. And we import all our energy and export our waste. We don't have the climate for solar. And they don't want us to burn fossil fuels - but indeed we burn the peat from our bogs. What

      • I remember campaign - "Incinerators mean dioxins, dioxins mean death".

        All I could think was that I saw plenty of healthy people in Vienna where they have a (pretty cool looking) incinerator slap band in the city.

        I also remember hearing about the plan for a crematorium in Ovens in Cork, that would have been gas.

  • We can help. (Score:2, Interesting)

    Dear Europe,

    The United States has so much trash, we're dumping it into the ocean. For a small additional fee, we'll ship you all the waste of the eastern seaboard. Note to slashdot mods: I'm not joking. We really do dump it into the ocean.

    Buy American. Buy trash.

    • Re:We can help. (Score:5, Informative)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @01:36AM (#43606895) Journal

      I'm not joking. We really do dump it into the ocean.

      According to the EPA, [epa.gov] that stopped completely by 1992.

      "The main objective of the federal Ocean Dumping Ban Act of 1988 has been realized--we have stopped dumping sewage sludge into the ocean," Reilly said. "EPA will continue to enforce the consent decrees which require the establishment of long-term, land-based disposal alternatives. We will also continue to encourage solutions that have beneficial uses. Through these efforts, not only are we preventing pollution by protecting the ocean from use as a dump, we are now seeing sludge recognized more and more as a resource, not as a waste.

      • I'm not joking. We really do dump it into the ocean.

        According to the EPA, [epa.gov] that stopped completely by 1992.

        That's about when they started splicing foreign elements into corn and soy, isn't it? I wonder where all that waste is going...

    • We really do dump it into the ocean

      21 years ago.

    • by Politburo (640618)
      I don't think any MSW is dumped in the ocean (legally), that ended decades ago. Feel free to provide a counter-example.
  • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:54AM (#43606719)

    Don't they know Garbage always gets expensive in the mid game? Haven't they played Powergrid?

  • by dristoph (1207920) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @01:57AM (#43606979)

    So will other countries be paying Norway to deal with their garbage, or will Norway be paying other countries for supplying them with fuel?

  • by sabt-pestnu (967671) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:40AM (#43607081)

    We have nigh uncountable garbage mines in this country. Why should we not support our overseas friends power needs by opening them as concessions.

    Which would lead to the natural conclusions: The EPA will regulate garbage mining, the Sierra Club will start decrying the spoilation of our resources, the paranoid will start advocate government control to assure our future garbage needs....

    • Some day, not long after the last drop of oil is sucked from the Earth and all the trash has all been burned, the future humans will look back through the ages and curse our ignorance: "All that valuable material for making and recycling plastics, and they FUCKING BURNED IT?!"

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Some day, not long after the last drop of oil is sucked from the Earth and all the trash has all been burned, the future humans will look back through the ages and curse our ignorance: "All that valuable material for making and recycling plastics, and they FUCKING BURNED IT?!"

        If we're still actually on this mudball by then, we'll deserve what we get. You don't need oil to make plastics, it's just the cheapest way to do it. You can get what you need from plants, or out of the air directly.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      We have nigh uncountable garbage mines in this country. Why should we not support our overseas friends power needs by opening them as concessions.

      You know what's funny about all of this? Here in Canada we can't even get garbage incineration off the ground in most places, because environmentalists are so "up in arms" over the entire thing. They then pressure up the local residents, and it becomes an environmentalist/nimby problem. And at the end of the road, we end up shipping garbage to abandoned quarries, or in other cases off to Michigan or other US states.

  • by r33per (585447) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @04:51AM (#43607443) Homepage
    an episode of Futurama [wikipedia.org]...
  • and pardon the pun, by europes landfill bans. to think that somehow burning your trash is a more acceptable alternative is actually quite absurd. the arguments against it are compelling
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incinerator [wikipedia.org]
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      How is it absurd?
      When land is cheap you can use some for a landfill, when land is expensive you may never make enough money on the landfill to pay for the land you use. If the landfill will not be profitable you won't do it.

  • by TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @09:11AM (#43608603)

    First, burning garbage is not the epitome of clean green energy. While it might be greener than coal or even natural gas its a trite solution implemented as a cheap alternative instead of finding a real clean source of energy. Also burning garbage is not a global solution to power, its only about alleviating the municipal headache of maintaining and finding new landfills.

    Second, places like this are probably so consumed by an incessant need to recycle and compost that they have depleted their own source of "garbage" energy.

    This is another reason why green society is just inherently Stupid (with a capital S), because its always about myopic applications of solutions without looking at the bigger picture. You can't remove all recyclables from municipal waste and then try to also power your city off of garbage, its one or the other.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Not everything that burns, is recyclable.

      And the story is not about trash having no caloric value; it's about the total quantity that's available.

  • Right now, most of us see garbage as a problem and landfills as an environmental crisis.

    In the future our descendants might see landfills as a resource. Vast amounts of reusable materials are stored in landfills for future reuse.

    In a post scarcity future, 100 years from now, landfills may end up being some of the most valuable land, guarded and strip-mined.

    After we use up all the cheap oil, and our technology has advanced. so that reuse is more practical, people may curse the "damned fools" who burned/recyc

  • Run a pipeline from US Senate/House of Reps. to Oslo. Operate incinerator off the methane vapors.

  • After reading the article about the girl expelled from school, I'm thinking the entire state could be sent there as Garbage.. Oh, I mean White Trash.

  • Seriously, we need to encourage cities like NYC to do this and pull in garbage from around the area. This is far better than throwing it away in a dump or in the ocean.
  • They just have to clean my house in the process of taking it.

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