Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that Sweden incinerates most of its trash. Why don’t we do more of this in the U.S., given that we’re running out of landfill space? — Oscar Gentry, New Bern, North Carolina
Sweden does burn the vast majority of its trash — only one percent of the country’s waste ends up in landfills — and even makes a profit by importing trash from neighboring countries to process in its high-efficiency, low emission incinerators. And it makes a lot of sense, given the huge toll landfills take on the environment, leaking liquids into surrounding soils and polluting groundwater while sending huge amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.