Oslo needs your garbage

trashA shortage of rubbish in Norway’s capital is having an unusual effect on heating for the city. Oslo’s forward thinking use of incinerators to produce heating has come unstuck due to supply insufficiencies.

Up to half of the heating that is provided for schools in the city is generated from burning trash, and there is simply not enough trash to meet demand.

For several years the city has discouraged landfills as a means of disposing waste, in favour of modern incinerators that safely burn it to produce some 1.5 terawatts of hourly power output, sufficient to power 150,000 homes.

However, the plan didn’t reckon on the insatiable thirst for rubbish that such energy creation needs, and now has to consider the absurd scenario of importing trash from outside of the city, or even from abroad.

One company, Hafslund, aims to phase out all fossil fuel energy by 2016, but presently it relies on it during peak loads. Companies in other Northern European countries are starting to follow suit.

Sweden, which practices a similar plan, now plans to import 800,000 tonnes of garbage a year to meet demand. Some of it might come from Italy where chronic trash disposal problems have blighted cities like Naples for years.