Swedish recycling crimes


Living in Sweden, one gets used to recycling. “To not recycle” is one of the things you just don’t_do, should you want to be able to blend in with your average crowd of people. We take it very seriously. A few years ago, municipal authorities brought a 77-year old woman to court for failing to recycle a frying pan in the correct manner, and last year a police candidate was fined for placing a cat litter box outside the plastic recycling container, instead of inside. [The links are in Swedish, so most of the readers will have to take my word for it.]

There are many examples like this, all made possible by a system of Garbage Spies, who stand guard at public recycling stations (undercover), and document wrongdoings. The Garbage Spies however, claim that highlighting the 77-year old woman makes them look stupid (yathink?), and that their work is focused on finding people who dump big things, say 20 gallons of frying oil without permission.

I myself find this highly amusing, but at the same time I’m a staunch supporter of Garbage Spies. Abusing your recycling systems should cost you! Inspired by their great deeds I did some private investigations today, at the recycling station in my house. Noted that several people have put non-coloured glass in the container for coloured glass and that there’s lots of plastic in the wrong places. Scandalous! I will be filing a report.

Supposed to be for coloured glass only

Supposed to be for coloured glass only

In the electronics bin, I found a vacuum cleaner, a television and a pair of speakers. Clearly someone’s been upgrading their gear. Was probably  necessary, the dumped television wasn’t even flat screen… And to finish off this first proper own post of mine, I’m most curious about other recycling cultures? Tell us in the comments section please!

Discarded television et. al.

Discarded television et. al.

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16 Responses to “Swedish recycling crimes”

  1. Ruby Re-Usable Says:

    “Garbage Spies” sounds like a sexy name for a new blog, or at least an Everyday Trash feature.

    Welcome, Victor!

  2. Victor Bernhardtz Says:

    It does indeed! Perhaps one could convince local authorities to become early adaptors. Imagine the Twitter updates!

  3. everydaytrash Says:

    I want to be a garbage spy! New York pays TOP dollar for catching and turning in illegal waste dumpers. But anytime I suggest to a friend we make some extra cash by hunting waste criminals and collecting the cash rewards, I get a lecture about the long history of sanitation and the mafia in this city 😦

  4. dumpstertaoist Says:

    Hello Victor, great post…

    Well some people on here probably already know my view on this subject, but heck, i’ll post anyways. I am all for recycling, however, I think that the general public has been greatly scammed by industry in out attitude towards it, and the government’s approach to it.

    The view that the public “generates” garbage is at least partially false. I don’t recall ever manufacturing any glass. I’ve never made cardboard or electronics at my house either, how about you? Most of the things I buy are necessary for living a modern life, and I am modest when I buy things. But there is trash, however I didn’t “make” it.

    So why is it that the manufacturers get off scot-free when it comes to recycling? In the past, containers were reuseabe and refilled by the prodcut manufacturer. But companies didnt like having to shoulder that cost, so they shifted the cost to the consumer in the form of disposables. Now we pay TWICE, once to buy the product, and then again to recycle the container (recycling doesn’t turn a profit, its a government funded good-will exercise),

    Here where I live, recycling is 100 percent commingled, as I believe it should be. Everything is sorted at a recycling plant. Recyclig should be EASY, that way people do it. Now, if we could just get the producers of non-biodegradeable trash to foot the bill for that plant, everything would be fair! 🙂

    rant over.

  5. New Dream Blog » Blog Archive » Should Not Recycling Correctly Become a Crime? Says:

    […] This via Everyday Trash. […]

  6. everydaytrash Says:

    Hey DT, even if recycling doesn’t generate profit, it’s a little more than a goodwill exercise. But I agree, it should be simple and we need better ways to reduce waste earlier in the cycle.


  7. Producer responsibility « everydaytrash Says:

    […] By Victor Bernhardtz dumpstertaoist made a great point in a comment to my former post, and I have the fantastic Swedish holier-than-thou reply! This should probably have gone in the […]

  8. dumpstertaoist Says:

    Fantastic, Victor! This was the point of my rant, to bring up this very important subject of producer responsibility. I mean no offense to anyone calling recycling a goodwill exercise, but I don’t believe in sacred cows either. One must examine closely topics like recycling, because anything that the government tells us is morally right and a “must-do” should always be scrutinized. In some cases recycling costs more energy than is saved, you know?

    By putting pressure on the actual producers of the actual producers, we could encourage them to come up with more environmentally sound products and packaging. Hit em where it hurts, in the wallet.

  9. Producer responsibility | 1800blogger Says:

    […] made a great point in a comment to my former post, and I have the fantastic Swedish holier-than-thou reply! This should probably have gone in the […]

  10. Producer responsibility | Conservation Blog Says:

    […] made a great point in a comment to my former post, and I have the fantastic Swedish holier-than-thou reply! This should probably have gone in the […]

  11. corruptio Says:

    The Swedish government is the worlds biggest fraud!

    Robbing African countries and threating those leaders (Zimbabwe) who does not want to be robbed and made prisoners in their own country. The Swedish government is involved in the Afghan heroin trade. Turkey, pakistan, India, Indonesia, USA and other countries are buying Swedish weapons with narkotics-money. That is why Sweden “gives” the Afghan farmers 50 million Euros every year and have sent 400 Swedish soldiers to guard the opium fields.

  12. Victor! everydaytrash gains a voice « everydaytrash Says:

    […] A closer look at what we throw away. « Swedish recycling crimes The green nuns of NYC […]

  13. Its up to your landlord! « everydaytrash Says:

    […] focus on building owners is very different to my homeland of Sweden, where, as I have described earlier, the responsability for recycling lies with the individual person. And they say we’re the […]

  14. New Dream Blog » Blog Archive » Should your city enact a fine for not recycling properly? Says:

    […] neighbor system grows up as it seems to have in some European areas. Victor, a Swedish blogger at Everydaytrash, frequently discusses the great interest his countryfolk take in proper recycling habits. Colin […]

  15. Regulating trash « everydaytrash Says:

    […] Regulating trash By Leila Darabi This funny photo from Last Night’s Garbage links to a disturbing article on garbage trucks rigged with cameras in Canada. The idea is to see if people are recycling properly. A bit much if you ask me; also a bit reminiscent of Vic’s reporting on Swedish trash crimes. […]

  16. guitars Says:

    I thought your publish was neat and will check out typically.

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