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As European society gets wealthier, its piles of rubbish grow higher. Countries in the European Union are now producing three billion tonnes of waste a year, about six tonnes for every man, woman and child, according to figures from Eurostat.
One European country pitching to become cleaner is Denmark -- but one of its business leaders says the industry needs to be streamlined.
Lars Petersen is the chief executive of Stena Recycling, part of the Swedish Stena Metall Group. The company employs 3,200 people across Europe and handles 15 million tonnes of waste a year --- recycling metals, paper, electronics, hazardous waste and chemicals.
Stena Recycling can shred a car to create reusable resources in just one minute -- but getting through European Union red-tape is a far longer process.
It can take up to four months for the European Union to give the company notification it has reclassified waste as secondary resource, he said, a process which can impact on profits.
Like extreme couponers who dive into dumpsters in search of newspaper circulars, credit card rewards chasers will go to great lengths to earn points.
A $100 gas fill-up? Whoo-hoo, double points! An emergency appendectomy? Doctor, do you accept American Express? The last few months have been particularly lucrative for rewards chasers.
Credit card issuers have sweetened their offers, showering big spenders with airline miles and cash. Perhaps you're wondering if the upcoming tax deadline presents an opportunity to add to your stash.
The IRS accepts plastic, and the prospect of a free trip or upgrade could take the sting out of your annual obligation to Uncle Sam.
Sadly, though, the cost of paying your taxes with a credit card usually exceeds the value of the rewards, says Jeffrey Weber, founder of SmartBalanceTransfers.com.
That's because unlike retailers, the IRS doesn't absorb the convenience fees charged by third-party service providers to process the transaction. Convenience fees range from 1.89% to 3.93% of your payment.