These 5 Countries Are Totally Nailing Sustainability

A little effort goes a long way.

Sep 29, 2016
Iceland's geothermal pipeline

Iceland's impressive geothermal pipeline (Shutterstock)

Sustainability isn’t just a trend these days, it’s a necessity. Thankfully, more and more community leaders and politicians are realizing that drastic moves are in order. Last month, France banned all plastic silverware, plates, and cups (more about this later) in an effort to reduce waste, but they’re not the only nation doing their part for our planet:

1. ICELAND

With low levels of air pollution,  stunning green forests, excellent water quality, and effective environmental policies, Iceland is one of the most environmentally friendly countries on the planet. According to the PR Newswire, 72% of the country’s total energy consumption comes from hydro- and geothermal resources. Not only that, but Iceland is still reaping the benefits of the Nature Conservation Act (1999), which protects the land from construction, deforestation, or other damaging actions.

2. SWITZERLAND

Thanks to global warming, Switzerland’s glaciers are already melting, but the Swiss have taken action. The country’s efficient recycling programs, exhaust emissions standards, and landscape planning laws are a part of everyday life for their citizens. Add that to the list of things the Swiss are absolutely excelling at - besides fondue, chocolate, and the Red Cross.

Solar panels in the Swiss alps

Solar panels in the Swiss alps (Shutterstock)

3. FRANCE

In July, the French banned the usage of plastic bags, and just last month, they expanded on their environmental policy. The French government passed a law that requires all plastic manufacturers to create goods solely from biodegradable materials before 2020. We’d say, let them eat cake...but only if it’s served on non plastic plates. Eliminating waste never sounded so delicious.

Biodegradable products

Biodegradable products like these will be the norm in France in the coming year (Shutterstock)

4. COSTA RICA

No wonder tourists flock to the country for its pristine beaches and rainforests! Costa Ricans work hard to make sure their land is preserved for years to come. Their environmentally friendly efforts have saved thousands of plants and animals in danger of extinction. Citizens even a pay a gas tax that goes towards helping landowners restore forests. Earth Share reports that Costa Rica’s goal is to have forests cover 60% of the country, an aspiration we can get behind.

A Costa Rican rainforest

Costa Rican rainforests are highly protected (Shutterstock)

5. SWEDEN

Sustainability investment firm Robecosam, reported that Sweden leads the world in environmentally conscious practices thanks to their many renewable energy sources, environmental educational programs, and low carbon dioxide levels. Sweden is the number one consumer of organic products in the EU and implements one of the best recycling programs worldwide. Even Swedish fashion giant H&M has committed to using more organic cotton. Green is good.

Recycling in Malmo, Sweden (Evikka / Shutterstock.com)

Recycling in Malmo, Sweden (Evikka / Shutterstock.com)

REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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