Stockholm is finally ready to lead when it comes to food waste collection, Source: Depositphotos

Food waste sorting will be mandatory in Stockholm

Food waste sorting will be mandatory in Stockholm

The Swedish capital has been notably lacking in that regard, compared to the rest of the country

From 1 January 2023, it becomes mandatory for all households, offices and businesses in Stockholm to collect food waste separately from all other waste. With that decision, the Swedish capital positions itself both ahead of and behind current realities in that field.

The aim of the local council is to finally take that waste source into an opportunity to develop more sustainable energy production, like biogas.

Since the 1990s, more and more Swedish municipalities have introduced food waste collection from households, commercial kitchens, and restaurants – but Stockholm has fallen behind, at least as far as a comprehensive implementation of such policy is concerned.

The thing is, the catering industry in the city had already been required to introduce food waste sorting, but it turns out that hasn’t been sufficient.

Making better use of daily resources

Forty per cent of what ends up in the bin is food waste. There is much to be gained from recycling it. Here are some calculations from Stockholm Vatten och Avfall, the company responsible for the capital’s waste management:

  • Five kilos of food waste can power a car for almost a mile;
  • A family’s potato peelings from six dinners are enough bio-fertiliser to grow potatoes for a bag of crisps for a Friday evening party;
  • The food waste from 3,000 people is enough to run a city bus for a whole year.

Yet, today, barely 30 per cent of the food waste that Stockholmers create is sorted out to become bio-fertiliser and biogas. Making food sorting compulsory in Stockholm is thus a step toward using resources better.

Still, seen from another angle Stockholm is now also trying to lead, perhaps as a result of its self-awareness that being the nation's capital and a major city comes with the responsibility to set a good example. In Sweden, the government has postponed requiring all municipalities to provide a system for collecting food waste until 31 December 2023. Stockholm, however, is introducing the requirement earlier following a decision by its city council.

In 2023 it will be the responsibility of the city’s property owners to ensure that residents and businesses in buildings can sort out food waste. A few exceptions will be made, though: Some multi-dwelling properties where the technical solutions still are not ready will have till 1 July 2024 before the obligation enters into force.



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