Posts Tagged ‘Sweden’
World renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson has a blog and you should read it. In a recent post entitled “By the Numbers: Food Waste” he shares key stats on our wasteful nation as well as four great recipes for using up leftovers.
In addition to advocating freezing, composting, cooking with wine and saving bread for various recipes, Samuelsson imparts one recipe each for a delicious-sounding soup, salad, slaw and taco. I love this combination of recipe ideas as a mantra for anyone with a bit left over after a meal—especially tacos. I often make soups or salads out of surplus dinner party fare, but tacos just make leftovers sound more fun!
The whole post reminds me of my grandmother who, borrowing from the tradition of Samuelsson‘s home of Sweden, would occasionally declare a smorgasbord lunch. She would empty out the fridge and put out little bits of this and that, some served cold and some served hot, left over from the amazing array of gourmet offerings created in her farm kitchen each week.
Police in Sweden are on the lookout for a man who has been hiding in and on top of garbage trucks and filming sanitation workers. Not sure how they know, but officials say the man is sick, not an environmentalist or political trashie. Here’s hoping that if they do in fact bust him, a crazy Swedish documentary comes out of the confiscated footage.
Semi-related: I finally saw The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. Oh, those Swedes.
A trashtastic example of a decorative dumpster sent in by long lost contributing editor. Tack, Victor!
The Swedish Government seems to want to make an example, as the Cabinet later today will initiate drafting of a new law that would make it easier to send illegal exporters of electric and electronic tra$h, which we know is a global and profitable business, to court. The new law is also supposed to make it easier for law enforcement to press charges against individuals in the tra$h business for attempted smuggling (right now, the tra$h must leave Sweden for things to become illegal, making it a lot more complicated process for authorities to engage in).
While there will be a while before we see actual proposed legislation, I applaud this, but think that we should also recognize that this is a symptom that cooperation between police forces of involved countries should be strengthened. We can’t just add new legislation to cure an inefficient collaborative environment. International Trash Police Summit now, please!
Swedish Public Radio reports today that with the use of a new filter and new methods (such as taking surface water – plastic floats), a research team has found large amounts of plastic fibres in watercourses in Sweden. With previous findings being between 1 and 20 fibres per cubic meter (approx. 35 cubic feet), the preliminary results of 10,000 fibres per cubic meter are alarming, to say the least.
The research team is currently working on a theory which explains the existence of such high quantities with rubber tyres and synthetic clothes, giving off the fibers. Regarding natural clothes (cotton etc.), they too come steeped in plastic fibres these days, says Fredrik Norén, part of the research team. (Which incidentally is why I wash new clothes before I wear them, letting the big machines at the local laundromat worry about the problem…)
The clothes theory gives a troubling insight into exactly how much plastic we use these days, and for what. It also pushes us to ask “why though?” Any takers on that, feel free to post comments. When the research project is finished, I hope to follow this up.
[As a side note for the linguists out there, can you tell where in this post you find UK English? I had fun writing this up.]
Remember Dustbot, the cute little robots that are being developed to slave for humans who want their trash taken care of? They are now being demonstrated to the public in the Swedish city of Örebro. Swedish fabulous blogger Helena Bergman, originally from Örebro, has captured this for all to see. This is the future everyone (and as the New York Times wrote yesterday, some say this isn’t all fantastic)!
Remember I told you all about our lovley Swedish tradition Pick Up the Trash Day? If you log on to this page (in Swedish) of Gävle Municipality, and klick the link “Här kan du se alla bidrag som kommit in till sopkorgstävlingen”, you will be able to look at about 50 home made decorated dumpsters by Gävle kids.
*Eyes watering with tears from cuteness overload*
We’ve known for quite some time now that everyday city trash attracts a lot of black market services. The most famous example is of course the mobsters who control large quantities of Italy’s trash. In Sweden, while the mob doesn’t seem to take a heavy interest, a lot of trash is collected under the eye of the municipal authorities and companies officially running business.
In an intriguing piece for Swedish weekly magazine Fokus, Nuri Kino, Petter Ljunggren and Mattias Pleijel lift the lid of the bin that is the real trash collecting economy in my hometown of Stockholm, claiming that their discoveries are valid for most of the country. A system has developed where restaurant owners don’t want to pay for collection every day of the week, but rather once or twice, and then slip Mr. Trash Collector some $100 on the side for the other days of the week. Further, there’s complimentary food and drinks to expect.
For some trash collectors, this seem to have developed in to a full blown lifestyle, with some restaurant owners having no option but to put out that free lunch, or finding out that the refuse truck is suddenly broken, oh sorry there will be no collection today as scheduled.
Would be surprised if this doesn’t spark debate back home, as us Swedes always pose happily about sharing the top spot at the Corruption Perceptions Index (where being #1 means very little bribing), currently together with Denmark and New Zealand. Now, the obvious question to the rest of the world: Where there is no trash mobster boss running things, how do these things play out? Who are the beneficiaries, who lose and what is being done about it? Everydaytrash wants to know!
Today the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co (SKB), the entity tasked with finding out where and how to store Sweden’s ultra dangerous radioactive trash, decided on where they will recommend the construction of the long term repository. The winner is Östhammar, a municipality with just over 21,000 inhabitants in southeast Sweden.
At today’s press conference, representatives of the municipality were serious-looking and happy, having beat the municipality Oskarshamn in the race to become nuclear trash spot no 1, they of course talked wide about cooperation, but it’s an ill kept secret that people in power back in Östhammar are jubilant over this decision.
One might find it odd that two municipalities would compete and advocate that they have the best mountain core for nuclear trash, but it just goes to show the power of tra$h, I guess, nuclear being the ultimate trash after all. That, or people are just outright bonkers. To learn all about how the final disposal will happen, check out the 101 on nuclear trash storage at the SKB website.
UPDATE: Follow this link to Swedish newspaper Uppsala Nya Tidning to see pix of Östhammar storage site boss celebrating with cake. The local government commissioner cried tears of joy (yes, she did). Then take a look at the most important YouTube clip ever about #cake. (Many thanx to @gerontedodedon for inspiration.)
My dear folks spend a lot of time at their country house in rural Sweden. This week and weekend, Ascension Day means Thursday off, usually with the effect that everyone claims Friday as bridge day, i.e. day off too, and leave their cities. My folks are no different, how can one deny such a great opportunity to clean out winter trash in the summer house?
Dad reports he thought they would be the only ones being houseproud enough to visit the local town trash deposit this lazy day, but oh was he wrong. There was a cue! Conclusion: Swedes take time off work to drive mile long stretches to recycle. Is this just us? Memorial day is coming up in the US this Monday, does it mean the recycling will overflow in Park Slope? Experienced citizens, pray tell.
EDIT: Dad now reports that Swedish Public Service television news says today is Sweden’s busiest recycling day of the year. All thanks to a legend about the ascent of this guy who preached about “be nice to people”, some 2000 years ago. Who said religion wasn’t useful?
The Swedish Public Radio reports that Sweden, after two years, has yet to stipulate punishment levels for breaking the European Union imposed legislation that prohobits tra$h smuggling to developing countries. Hence, there’s no knowing what to do with a container of illegal refrigerators that was confiscated this Friday by border authorities, and no way of knowing what to do with the persons trying to send it off to Uganda. Well done, parliament.
Remember how I wrote in February about the annual Pick Up the Trash Day? Well, now it’s April and kiddos all over Sweden are gearing up to run around and clean up their communities. So far over 145 000 young ones are signed up for this year.
New for 2009 is that all participating schools, municipalities etc. can post on a collective blog, so that we all can check in on what’s up. And get more pix like this one here:
My folks housing cooperative have a long standing internal battle against people in the cooperative not taking responsability for the recycling routines. In short, many choose to throw more or less everything in the room reserved for bulky trash (such as furniture), resulting in high costs for the cooperative when trash workers sort out the refrigerators and bottles from the couches and bags of old clothes.
This unruly behaviour has now come to an end. The board of the cooperative have put in place a harsh and virtually impenetrable line of defense: The Bulky Trash Watchman. Before this new regime, everyone had their own keys to the room, and could sneek down with their illegal trash at 4am in the morning without being noticed. No more. Now there’s one key, possessed by a man dubbed the Bulky Trash Watchman of the block.
Instead of being a 24-hour room, the bulky trash room os now open Sundays 7pm-8pm. The Watchman stands, with a grim look upon his face, inside the room and carefully eyes your bulky trash before nodding and directing you to place it next to whatever is in there already. The eagle eyes of the Watchman sees all attempts of cheating, and will happily share the regulations on what stuff goes in the room, and where one should recycle trash deemed unworthy.
Needless to say, the costs for recycling for the housing cooperative have dropped dramatically in a very short space of time. Good proof that regulation and big brother might need to step in when we oh-so-earthfriendly citizens talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk.
The Stockholm trash collector’s wildcat strike is over, as of yesterday morning (sorry, haven’t had time to blog the news). But there is a but! Although the battle-axe has been buried after a meeting between workers and the new (hated) entrepeneur, an agreement hasn’t been finalized, and things are still a bit shaky. For now, we can only idly watch things unfold.
For myself, the 4-day strike gave a good opportunity to look at my own trash. What happens if I can’t take it out? The result has proven not to be very scandlous. I went from a bag filled about 20% to a bag filled about 40%. And this while taking at least two daily cooked meals at the house. No diapers, no food thrown away, no filling the trash with recyclables such as metal cans or paper. Living by yourself seems to be helpful in trash flow control.
(More drama happened in the house though! A new note appeared next to the first one, that had announced special trash bags would be placed in the trash room. The new note stated how revolting it was that these bags had now been stolen. Although it felt wrong, I did have a good laugh over this.)
Then again, more resources are used per capita for heating (we have Winter I kid you not) when people live by themselves, not to mention the multiplied numbers of furniture, bed fabric, houses and all that stuff that makes our lives so Modern. It’s a bit like cars really. Which incidentally reminds me of this terrible episode of Oprah when people were advised to save the planet by keeping reusable bags for groceries in your car, instead of discussing the debatable strategy of going shopping with your car. Crazy.