Sweden and the Netherlands’ waste management technologies and practices—as well as innovative energy solutions—could help improve environmental justice, tackle climate crisis & bring down costs in Illinois and beyond

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – During an official visit to Sweden and the Netherlands, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)—a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee as well as co-chair of the Senate’s Environmental Justice Caucus—toured sites and met with leaders in the circular economy and energy sectors to learn more about the technologies and practices they are developing that could help tackle the climate crisis, which disproportionately impacts environmental justice communities and puts our national and global security at risk, while bringing energy prices down at the same time. On this visit, the Senator met with senior officials from multiple waste management, recycling and energy businesses to not only receive a first-hand, in-depth look at their innovative technologies and practices, but also discuss how similar technologies and practices could be brought to Illinois and the rest of the United States to create good-paying green jobs while improving environmental justice, reducing waste, expand energy supplies and help strengthen businesses. Photos of Duckworth during her official visit to Europe can be found on the Senator’s website.

“For years, I’ve warned that the climate crisis is both a national and global security threat—and I’m committed to doing everything I can to mitigate its impact before it’s too late,” said Duckworth. “With Illinois being a world leader in renewable energy production and Sweden and the Netherland being global leaders in circular economy, waste management and renewable energy, we can learn a lot from each other about building a strong, sustainable and thriving green economy. I was glad to meet with energy leaders and experts to discuss our shared goals as well as how we can partner together to further expand economic investments—particularly in Illinois—that would help provide cleaner, lower-cost energy alternatives while shielding our most disadvantaged communities from the devastating impacts of our climate crisis and from harmful emissions and waste.”

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Duckworth’s meetings included:

  1. Northvolt, a Swedish battery developer and manufacturer that is currently building the largest battery manufacturing and battery recycling plant in Europe and working to develop batteries manufactured with 100% recycled materials. Recycling electric vehicle batteries is the most sustainable option and will help better-position America as we compete with China in the critical minerals and electrification sector.
  1. Stockholm Exergi, a leader in waste-to-energy systems to discuss how their low emissions process could be used in the U.S.
  2. Vattenfall, one of Europe’s largest energy producing companies, sharing a similar makeup with Illinois’s energy portfolio. Vattenfall is at the center of Sweden’s push toward pursuing an increase in wind power and a resurgence of nuclear energy, including future small modular reactors.
  3. The American Chamber of Commerce in both Sweden and the Netherlands to discuss creating energy solutions and enhancing our economic ties with investments from those nations.
  4. Port of Amsterdam and Circular Economy/Energy Companies, meeting with local leaders and representatives from Dutch companies leading the way in waste reduction and innovative energy solutions including AEB Amsterdam and Renewi Organics; Chaincraft, GBN, SkyNRG, OBBOTEC and Granuband.

As the climate crisis, landfill waste and plastic pollution continue to disproportionately impact low-income and communities of color, Senator Duckworth is committed to finding innovative solutions to help that the United States with their clean energy transition, curbing climate change as well as building on her work supporting environmental justice communities and shifting our country away from fossil fuels. Illinois is a diverse energy state and is a net energy exporter, ranked first among all Midwest states in cleaner energy capacity. Illinois is the nation’s largest producer of nuclear energy and fifth in the nation for wind energy capacity.

Additionally, nearly 30,000 jobs are supported by Netherlands-U.S. trade and Dutch investments in the technological sector, quantum computing, manufacturing and more. With Illinois being the number one producer of soybeans in the U.S. and the Netherlands being a major importer of soybeans as well, Duckworth also discussed the ways our two nations can support each other through economic investments, create more jobs and expand business even further.

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