‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ is an old saying that could not be more appropriate for this story. The article covers the little-discussed EU garbage economy, or how EU states have a big business going in trash. In particular, those states which do not recycle as much of their waste pay to give their trash to high recycling states who burn it for energy. For example, Austria has a high capacity to use garbage as energy, but its recycling rates are so high that it cannot source enough of its own trash to meet capacity. Therefore, it gets Rome, its southern neighbor, to pay over $100 per ton to remove the city’s trash, which an Austrian energy company then burns and sells as energy—making money on both sides of the transaction. Speaking on the difference between Austrian and Italian trash, a spokesman for the Austrian energy company says “There are a few more spaghetti packages but that’s the only difference to the Austrian trash”.
OxWFD: This is a good system, and one of the areas where the EU seems to work well. Increasing this sort of capacity around the world seems like it would be good for the environment and for business.