Each day, trucks roll into this city filled with the latest hot import from the streets of Manchester, England: garbage.
The destination is a power plant that makes a business of turning trash into electricity, or as it touts in a brochure, “spinning straw into gold.” The straw in this case is large, pillowy blobs of rubbish, neatly wrapped in plastic.
“Like a marshmallow,” beams Rolf Oesterhoff, manager of the MHKW Rothensee waste-to-energy plant.
A waste not, want not attitude mixed with a national zeal for recycling has led to an awkward problem for Germany: It isn’t producing enough of its own trash.
Over the past decade, heaps of garbage-burning power plants and composting facilities were built throughout Germany as the country shut off all its landfills to new household trash. But instead of growing, as many thought it would, household-waste production flattened, in part because sparing Germans edged their already-high recycling rate even higher. Read more