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How green is Sweden? Sweden is so green that the King himself has called for a worldwide ban on bathtubs. It sounds very funny at first but it just shows that Sweden is a leading country in the sector of sustainability. In this article, I will briefly show you some quite interesting green facts about Sweden.
I have been lucky enough to participate in a Climate KIC summer school to reduce Europeans CO2 emissions in Sweden and can report that Sweden is one of the pioneers in sustainable development and environmental protection. Sweden has often been recognized as the most sustainable country in the world (e.g. by the Country Sustainability Ranking). In 2016, Sweden also won the title in the European Sustainability Championship. Sweden is considered the most incorruptible country in Europe (Germany came 10th). But it won mainly because of its CO2 reduction. It is one of the few countries (together with Denmark) that has managed to exceed its CO2 reduction targets and is thus one of the few countries to contribute to achieving the 2 (or 1.5) degree climate target.
But Sweden can do even more
Here are a few facts that make Sweden a pioneer:
50 % of the waste gets recycled (in Germany it is 15 % in comparison). 99% of non-recyclable waste is used to generate heat and energy. The waste is therefore incinerated and fed back into the grid instead of ending up in landfills.
Gardens and green areas
In 2010, Stockholm won the title of Europe’s environmental capital and has the world’s first urban national park covering an area of 27 square kilometers.
Urban Gardening is very popular everywhere in the cities of Sweden. There are countless projects like the Kajodlingen farm in Gothenburg, Slottsträdgården in Malmö or Pa Sparet, a garden built on disused tracks in Stockholm.
The companies Plantagon and Urban Oasis, which operate indoor farming and grow lettuce or mushrooms with minimal use of water in vertical towers directly on site in Stockholm, are also particularly exciting in this area. You can buy Urban Oasis products at ICA Liljeholmen, ICA Sickla, ICA Globen, COOP Midsommarkransen and ICA Mall of Scandinavia in Stockholm.
Repair instead of new purchase
The government wants people to repair more instead of constantly buying new things. It has therefore reduced the taxes on repairs by half and every Swede can deduct the costs from the tax. And the best thing is that vintage fashion, for example, has already become a huge trend in Sweden.
Cities in Sweden are often characterized by environmentally friendly means of transport. On the one hand, the public transport network is well developed and on the other hand, many buses run on bio-waste fuel or with the help of electric drives from wind and water power.
There is even the first electrified road near Stockholm, where modified electric cars can be recharged over a distance of 2 km while driving. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is a first innovative step.
Sweden’s goal is to completely supply itself from renewable energies by 2040. They are well on their way to achieving this goal. Each of the 290 Swedish municipalities has its own energy consultant, to whom the inhabitants can turn with questions e.g. to the exchange of windows or lamps.
Currently, 52 % of Sweden’s electricity supply comes from renewable sources. 95 % of this comes from hydropower.
If you have the opportunity to be in Sweden, don’t just take a look at nature. Go to some cool local initiatives. Stock up with second-hand vintage clothes, separate garbage and take a look at the delicious urban gardening products from Urban Oasis.
Do you want to get inspired by beautiful pictures of Sweden? Take a look at the Gallery.