Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recycling rant

I was reading an article last night that described my new neighborhood, Hammarby sjöstad, as an "ecological sustainability effort" to show that "a sustainable community can be achieved in a capital city." As nice as Hammarby sjöstad is, I must say I beg to differ.

My main objection is the scarcity, or rather, complete lack of recycling facilities. Sweden is known to be recycling-obsessed  and Swedes are really good at it. People rinse out their old tetra packs, unfold them, and sort them out from the metals, plastics, cardboard, newspaper, batteries... if it's not biodegradable, there's probably a place to recycle it. 

And throughout Stockholm, there are canisters every few blocks on the side of the road for each of these recyclables.

But not in Hammarby sjöstad! I realized this when we first arrived and I carried some cumbersome boxes around the neighborhood (much to the embarassment of NS) looking for these canisters only to finally surrender to throwing the boxes away. I later carried a load to the mall, sure I'd find something — again, nothing.

I guess the idea is that every building has it's own recycling room so there's no need for it street-side. But not our building! Oh, except between 7 and 7:30pm on  Wednesdays and Sundays. And only for paper and metal. Apparently there've been vandalism problems, forcing 24-hour access to be closed. 

My solution? Every morning, I carry all our recyclables in my bike basket to work and stop along the way to drop them in a receptacle. Do I look like a crazy person? Yes. But it's in the name of earthliness. 

And let's not even talk about how long it takes the water in our apartment to get warm. Talk about a waste! 

In the meantime, I will continue to doubt Hammarby sjöstad's claim - and will continue to carry my boxes and cans yonder. 

Thank you for actually reading to the end this ridiculous recycling rant. I promise it won't happen again.


  1. Ha ha! Love your post! And I feel your pain. When C's mom and dad were visiting us once a few years ago they asked where our compost was. Well, no compost in the city unfortunately. I mean, where would we put all that dirt in an apartment? But I can't believe there are no recycling receptacles near you! That is crazy! I have to say however, I love the image of you taking your recycling to work in your bicycle basket every day :-p!!!! Great work! You are making your inner Swede proud!

    1. Haha I know it is a ridiculous image but I can't face tossing it all! Maybe someone who decides on these things will see this post and make a change...

  2. I have a recycling room!! Just text me next time :)

  3. but I agree with you, the sustainability claims in this entire country are a bit out of proportion - individually wrapped peppers?? There is plastic around everything!

    1. I may actually text you next time, plus I need to come see your place anyway!!