Norwegian salmon. Northern Lights. Brown Cheese. These are just a few items that are associated with Norway, the country ‘powered by nature’. But did you know, the country is also known for their sustainability efforts? The country is driving environmental conservation through its unique waste to energy disposal system. This system converts waste to energy and contributes to Oslo’s district heating!
So how do they exactly do it?
The green and the blue bag
In Norway, green and blue plastic bags have a much deeper meaning to it. Waste in the green bags contains food waste while waste in blue bags contains plastic waste. Any other form of waste, excluding paper and glass, will go into bags of any other colours. Even though it is not compulsory to sort your waste, most citizens do it out of goodwill! They can find these free green and blue plastic bags readily available at supermarkets/recycling centre.
Where does the trash go?
After the various waste bags are being collected, they are being treated in the waste to energy plant. In the plant, the bags are being separated by their colours through an automated system. Green bags are sent to the biogas plant and transformed into biogas and bio-fertiliser. A bus can drive 250 meters on the waste from a green bag.
The blue bags are transported to Germany for plastic recovery or recycled into new plastic.
The remaining waste will be incinerated. The energy obtained from incineration can be used to provide heat energy to the district heating system in Oslo.
The 3 Plants
Currently, Norway has 3 Waste to Energy Plants – Haraldrud, Klemetsrud and Romerike Biogas.
The Haraldrud Plant was the first waste to energy plant that was built in 1967. It has a recycling and sorting capacity of 100,000 tons of waste annually.
The Klemetsrud Plant is the largest plant with a recycling capacity of 310,000 tons of waste annually.
The Romerike Biogas Plant was completed in 2012 as Oslo’s largest biogas plant. It produces both biogas
and bio-fertilizers based on food waste and has a capacity of 50,000 tons of food waste per year. The plant supplies 135 buses with biogas and 100 medium-sized farms with nutritious bio-fertiliser.
Pollution from incineration?
Fortunately, the smoke that is released during incineration goes through purification. So, 99% of the smoke is actually pure water!
To watch the whole documentary of the waste to energy plant, click here!