Scandinavian countries are in the forefront of working to avoid waste and improve the environment. Here are examples from each country along with a link to find more information. The theme of this year’s Earth Day is Protect Our Species. Read more about Earth Day 2019 to find out what you can do.
The Pant System
One of the most important aspects of recycling in Norway is the ‘pant’ system. It’s basically a reward system for returning plastic bottles and aluminum cans. When you buy a plastic bottle of juice or a can of soda for example, you pay a few NOK extra that you will get back when you recycle it. The ‘pant’ price is written on the bottle or can, and it’s usually around 1-2.5 NOK depending on the size. There are returning machines in every supermarket, so you place your bottles and cans on the slot and collect pant for each one. Once you’re done, you can get a receipt with an amount you can donate to charity, or use it to pay for goods at the supermarket.
You can find more ways in the article 10 Ways Norway Is Contributing to an Environmentally Friendly Planet.
Award-winning Swedish company Plantagon works with urban agriculture and specialises in what is known as vertical cultivation. Plantagon’s vertical greenhouses
minimise the need for energy, water and pesticides. Plans are underway to build vertical greenhouses in Linköping and Botkyrka, south of Stockholm. The idea is that the buildings will contribute to a climate-smart solution to the world’s future demands for food. plantagon.com
Read more about Sweden’s green works at Sustainable Living in Sweden.
What is Finland Doing to Preserve Its Wilderness
“Food is political,” says Ossi Paloneva, head chef at Helsinki’s Loop Restaurant, where the surprisingly appetising menu is comprised of waste food – ingredients that stores would normally discard.
“I always thought it would be silly to work as a chef and not think of the bigger picture at all,” he says.
Estimates vary about how much food is wasted in Finland annually, but the Wastestimator project, carried out by National Resources Institute Finland from January 2016 to February 2017, puts the amount between 335 million and 460 million kilos. On average, restaurants account for as much as 70,000 kilos each year. Apart from any issues of morality or environmental sustainability, these levels of waste make no sense from a business point of view.
In Finland, the challenge of food waste persists in spite of relatively advanced awareness of the need to recycle and an infrastructure that supports recycling. Efforts on the Helsinki restaurant scene could set trends for the industry to erode the mountains of food waste.
Iceland Holds The Honorable Title of the world’s leading clean-energy economy and its president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, is a relentless advocate of sustainable development.
- Switching to alternative energy isn’t as costly as you think.
“The solution lies in a complete energy transformation from fossil fuel dependence to alternative energy,” Grímsson said.
Until the 1970s, Iceland was classified a developing country by the United Nations Development Programme. For centuries it was among the poorest in Europe, a nation of subsistence farmers and fishermen with 85% of its electricity coming from imported coal. Today, almost 100% of Iceland’s electricity and heat is generated from domestic renewable sources, mainly geothermal. Shifting from sending money overseas for coal to paying local electricity providers has saved Iceland the net profit of half of its GDP in 10 years.
Read about more of Iceland’s green programs at After Economic Collapse, Here’s How Iceland Rebuilt A Powerful Green Economy
In the very middle of Denmark lies Samsø island, famous for its delicious potatoes. Since 2007, Samsø has been 100 % sustainable, relying entirely on renewable energy such as wind, solar, and biomass energy.
To meet that goal, many of Samsø’s inhabitants replaced their oil-burning heaters and insulated their homes.
Now the island is implementing a new strategy for re-using all waste. A new biogas plant will even produce the necessary power for the ferry “Princess Isabella” that connects Samso with mainland Denmark.
Read more about Samsø here.
Read more about Sustainability in Denmark
Ingebretsen’s is dedicated to being a good steward of the earth and celebrates Earth Day with a commitment to continue to take care of this place we all call home.