Sweden’s example: sorting food waste into separate bags for 12 years

Together with representatives from the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, the Vilnius Regional Waste Management Centre, the municipalities of Vilnius City, Vilnius District, and Elektrenai, as well as the Ukmerge Bus Park, we visited Lidköping in Sweden. Here, food waste has been sorted into separate bags since 2012. Over more than a decade, the Swedes have managed to get residents to separate about 60% of all generated food and green waste into separate bags.

“In Scandinavia, there is already a deeply ingrained culture of sorting food and other waste. However, it is important to understand that the Swedes achieved this result not in a few months, but over many years of consistent work and the creation of new habits. They employed multiple annual advertising campaigns, journalists, politicians, and public figures who encouraged people to separate food waste into special green bags – and only after a decade did they achieve positive results. In Lithuania, we still face expectations that the desired results should be achieved quickly and without much effort,” notes Algirdas Blazgys, CEO of Energesman.

In Lidköping, which we visited, food waste has been sorted into separate bags for 12 years and will continue to be so for another two years. As residents have learned to properly separate waste with minimal contamination, from 2026, the city will start using a separate container system. Food and kitchen waste will continue to be placed in special bags and then into these containers.

Residents of the Vilnius region have been sorting food waste for half a year, as required by the EU directive that came into effect at the beginning of the year. We are continuously improving our processes and seeking innovative solutions to manage this waste.

The example of Sweden shows us that the process of forming new habits is long and challenging. However, by consistently moving towards our goal, we can achieve similar or even better results in the future.

Since the beginning of this year, Energesman plant has been receiving and separately processing food waste delivered from across the Vilnius region: Vilnius City and District, Trakai, Elektrenai, Ukmerge, Salcininkai, Sirvintos, and Svencionys municipalities.