1. Amazing sustainability initiatives.
Sweden leads the EU in organic food consumption and has some of the most comprehensive country-wide recycling programs I have ever seen — more than 99% of household waste is recycled and recycling centers must, by law, be no further than 300m from a residential area to make them accessible (although most households have a central garbage room for their apartment or housing block, where they can sort their waste). Most of the food waste and some of the paper is burned for bio-gas, which is then used to power machinery or buses. Pharmacists will also take and recycle or dispose of leftover medication. Sweden encourages residents to donate large goods to secondhand stores. Incandescent lightbulbs are no longer available, and compact fluorescent ones are being phased out in favor of LED lightbulbs, which last ten times as long and don’t have dangerous mercury inside them. Can recycling machines are in every grocery store, and the coupons you get give you money off your groceries — in fact, Sweden is so good at recycling that it needs to import trash from other countries to keep the recycling factories going. Companies like Plantagon are pioneering initiatives like vertical greenhouses to clean air and provide food for cities like Linkoping and Botkyrka.