In Sweden Everybody Works At Home For The Government – Unpaid

February 4, 2008 by Chuck | 2 Comments

Since the elections are coming up, it’s a good time to remember that perhaps we need to elect people who remember what it was like for people to have freedom instead of being micromanaged by nitwits in Washington.

Check out how, in Sweden, everybody is an unpaid work at home garbage sorter. It’s insanity aplenty…

So what do you do with your waste? Most homes have a number of trash bins for different kinds of trash: batteries in one; biodegradables in one; wood in one; colored glass in one, other glass in another; aluminum in one, other metals in another; newspapers in one, hard paper in another, and paper that doesn’t fit these two categories in a third; and plastic of all sorts in another collection of bins. The materials generally have to be cleaned before thrown away — milk cartons with milk in them cannot be recycled just as metal cans cannot have too much of the paper labels left.The people of Sweden are thus forced to clean their trash before carefully separating different kinds of materials. This is the future, they say, and it is supposedly good for the environment. (What about the economy?)

But it doesn’t end with the extra work at home and the extra space in each and every kitchen occupied by a variety of trash bins. What do you do with the trash that isn’t collected? The garbage collection service (which nowadays doesn’t offer collection too often, usually biweekly or monthly, even though the rates mysteriously seem to be much higher than before) only accepts certain types of garbage, generally only biodegradable food leftovers. But do not worry; it is all taken care of.

The authorities have established trash collection centers in most neighborhoods where you get to throw away your trash. These “centers” offer numerous containers where you can throw away your trash — there is one container dedicated for each and every kind of trash and they are all neatly color-coded to help you find the right one. But this means you better have separated your aluminum from your other metals and your newspapers from your soft and hard papers before you get here. You wouldn’t want to throw away dirty milk cartons or unsorted paper, would you?

But it seems people do just that: they cheat if they believe they are better off doing so. So the authorities have responded by making it more difficult to cheat. Their first measure was to redesign all containers so that it is more difficult throwing the “wrong” trash in them. For instance, containers for glass have only small, round holes where you put your bottles, and containers for hard paper and carton materials have only letter-slit shaped holes (you need to flatten all boxes before recycling — that’s the law).

In Work at Home Blog

Related Posts

Related Resources


  • Revella on February 6th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I do not see anything insane in what Sweden is doing to bring into check its waste management and these people are not little blind sheep who contribute their time doing it but a very logical response to the consumption of materials. The US, as one of the largest consumers of materials (not to mention energy, but you didnt need me to tell you that), would be wise to take the hint and stop trying to create ‘mountains’ with their trash.

  • Chuck on February 7th, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Revella, the comments I posted were from a Swede who finds his own country’s policies insane.

Leave a Reply