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Problem Solving Must-Reads: Sweden’s Energy is Trash

Plus: Using historic preservation to curb gentrification, and LA's new, simple electric vehicle charging stations

Problem Solving Must-Reads: Sweden’s Energy is Trash

Plus: Using historic preservation to curb gentrification, and LA's new, simple electric vehicle charging stations

The average United States citizen creates about 4.3 pounds of trash per day. As a nation, we produce 220 million tons of garbage annually.  55 percent of that garbage eventually finds itself in our landfills, which on top of yielding air and groundwater contaminants, contributes to approximately 22 percent of our methane emissions. This all has become a grave issue for the United States. Yet Sweden, another industrialized nation, does not face this problem.

The Swedes constructed 32 waste-to-energy plants that burn trash (through environmentally friendly means) to power over 800,000 homes and bring warmth to over 250,000 of their citizens during harsh Swedish winters. The program is so successful that Sweden has begun to import trash from other European nations, approximately 800,000 tons in 2014, to fuel their eco-conscious mission.  And those other nations pay Sweden to take their garbage.

Sweden is still figuring out how to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions from the burning as well as other kinks in program; however, their trash burning program has paved the way for other nations to look inwards at how they too can cut back on both the garbage they create, and their impact on our environment.

Read the Full Story Here (via Upworthy)

Here’s what else we’re reading:

How Historic Preservation is Curbing Gentrification

Photo: City Lab

In the hopes of protecting a unique part of North Carolinian culture, Durham, the city’s last mill village, is hoping to use historic designation to stave off gentrification. Housing prices increased 63 percent from 2004 to 2014 in certain areas of the city. The Durham City Council approved the historic preservation of the Golden Belt, a diverse factory town in the city, as a means to stop, or at least delay, gentrifying forces in the area.  The area is serving as a kind of experiment to see how gentrification and historical designation interact. (via City Lab)

LA's New and Simple Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Photo: Next City

To combat global warming and air pollution, California aims to have 1 million electric vehicles on the streets of the state by 2023. To help them reach their goal, their Public Utilities Commission started a program to get 1,225 electric vehicle charging stations into low-income neighborhoods.  These charging stations, which can be attached to utility poles, are critical to enabling people to adopt electric vehicles more easily.  Moreover, the program will improve clean air in the communities most affected by climate change: Low income neighborhoods. (via Next City)

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