As the global population increases and the world’s reliance on technology increases at an increasing rate, concern for the sustainability of our planet has grown. From the release of harmful emissions to mounting levels of waste, we try to look after our own backyard but perhaps wonder if the rest of the world is doing the same. We hear you. You want to visit a place where you have your choice of eco-hotels, wake up to an organic breakfast with ingredients fresh from the local farmer’s market that you plan on visiting this afternoon by bicycle.
If that sounds like you, no need to grab your passport. Let New England Waste escort you on a tour around the globe to visit the top five cities taking big strides in recycling, reusing and minimising waste, all while leaving an equally minimal footprint.
No surprise there. New England Waste is familiar with Scandinavia as one of the world’s leaders in being kind to the earth. Copenhagen unfurled an ambitious plan to be the first carbon-neutral capital city by 2025. How are they travelling? You be the judge. Join the myriads of cyclists sightseeing or simply getting around on their day-to-day chores. If you don’t have a bicycle, New England Waste will be pleased to let you know your hotel will provide you with one! Did we mention that only 29% of Danish households own a car? If you do feel the need to hail a cab, don’t be too hard on yourself. They are hydrogen-powered!
The Danes are just as impressive when it comes to recycling. Danish supermarkets come equipped with reversed vending machines that take your bottles and give you cash in return Recycling in 2019 recorded more than 1.4 billion bottles and cans saving the climate more than 150,000 tonnes of CO2. The increased amounts of returns are pushing capacity with the Danes having to open more recycling plants. Denmark even has a waste-to-energy power plant at CopenHill with an artificial ski slope on its roof that is open year-round. With ever-increasing investment in green technology, there is no reason to suggest Copenhagen will be losing the tag of most eco-friendly city in the world any time soon.
2. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
In second place is Amsterdam, close second at that. The Dutch have dedicated major efforts ensuring sustainability and removing the effects of climate change. When we think of Amsterdam, we picture cycling as the main type of getting around, however sustainability has not stopped there, with authorities working to reduce emissions by introducing electric vehicles around the city, and encouraging a switch to electricity with over 300 charging points dotted throughout the city.
Eco-friendliness begins in the home and the landscape of homes in Amsterdam is dotted with solar panels installed on roofs. More and more homes are also growing their own produce or purchasing from local farmers’ markets that injects money right back into the local economy.
3. Stockholm, Sweden
Ok, Western Europe, New England Waste is swinging right back to Scandinavia again as we head to breathtakingly picturesque Stockholm. Stockholm has ambitiously declared its intention remove the use of fossil fuels by 2040, introducing policies that will create a greener society. With fifty bridges connecting the city’s fourteen islands, Stockholm has directed great efforts to encourage its citizens to live sustainably. Bio-fuel, generated from sewage waste, is becoming an increasingly popular choice for powering vehicles around the city.
New England Waste is pleased to let sports fans know that Stockholm has harnessed any wasted heat from its 30,000-seat stadium, with plans for the recovered energy to be recycled warm up to 1,000 flats!
4. Berlin, Germany
Ok, Scandinavia, Western Europe has equalised at 2-2! We know, it’s not a competition…except that it is! The trophy? Courtesy of New England Waste, a more sustainable earth! One of the most famous cities in the world, Berlin has always been associated with being industrious and industrialised so some of you might be surprised to see Germany come in at number four. The reason? After the horrors of World War I and it’s associated chronic food shortages, residents targeted self-sufficiency, finding a renewed love for their green spaces to grow their own foods. The trend continues to this present day having been recycled (sorry!) through successive generations.
In noticing the level of interest in electric vehicles, Berlin has moved with the times. Installing over 400 charging points across the city, this is Berlin’s way of giving its citizens a gentle collective nudge to consider changing vehicle type. Going one step further, many people in Berlin are doing away with their car altogether, choosing to share with one another in a bid to minimise their footprint and save the environment.
Leaving Europe, join New England Waste on a tour of the west coast of the US of A as guests in the green state of Oregon. Portland city has introduced some truly amazing changes to stay at the forefront of bettering the lifestyles of the citizens of Portland and contributing to the betterment of the world’s citizenry. Let’s look at how they are travelling.
At least 25% of workers in Portland commute by bike, public transport or carpooling and the effect of this has already been positively reflected in the local environment with the number of vehicles on the roads significantly reduced. The city has openly encouraged this with the building and maintenance of 250 miles (402 kilometres) of bike paths, facilitating a safe and easy way to get around. Cycling is the main method of transportation for 8% of Portland’s residents, many ditching the car almost entirely.
Portland is equally impressive in the area of recycling and reuse of waste. The city produces almost 2.5 million tonnes of waste each year, with a jaw-dropping reuse rate of over 50%, recovering almost 1.3 million tonnes of it. These are astonishing results for a major city of almost 650 000 people. An equally impressive stat is that the Portland uses 33% of renewable energy, outstripping the national average of 13%. Oh yeah, did we also mention that, like San Francisco, the city has banned plastic bags. Phew!
Now, by no means are these the only good guys on the planet. In the areas of recycling, reuse and minimising waste and their footprint in general, Montevideo, Vienna, Singapore, Ljubljana, San Francisco, Bristol, Vancouver and Curitiba in Brazil are well worth a look. If you want inspiration to kick start your own good habits of environmental good practice, we would recommend hitting these places up on the web. Add New England Waste to that list and take a look at the energy we devote to practices of waste minimisation, recycling and reuse of waste, all to shrink that footprint and grow a greener earth.
About New England Waste
New England Waste services the Armidale, Uralla, Glen Innes, Tenterfield, Guyra and areas and in between with an extensive range of skip bins, hook bins, septic services and port-a-loos. Family own and operated since 1979 by the Lancaster family, great service, expert solutions and great value are at the heart of New England Waste. See our range here:
Want more information? Contact us here
Words by: F. Rafaneli