Norwegian glass recycling hits a brick wall

Agency confirms vast majority of waste glass landfilled despite good progress on packaging

Despite collection and recycling schemes for household glass, three-quarters of Norway's total glass waste ends up in landfills, the national pollution control agency SFT confirmed today. Of 49,000 tonnes of glass waste generated by the construction industry last year, only 32 tonnes were recycled. Construction is the biggest generator of glass waste, along with the car industry.

"When it comes to waste in general, glass is not the worst fraction", an SFT spokesperson told ENDS Daily. "It causes no organic problems in landfill, for example." SFT sees packaging as the most serious fraction since glass can end up littering the countryside - hence the focus on domestic schemes - though it expects an increase in recycling of all kinds of glass to flow from a newly-introduced landfill tax.

Norsk Glassgjenvinning, the company which accounts for 80% of glass recycling in Norway, wants deeper policy changes. The construction industry has no equivalent to the tax penalties and incentives that have achieved 86% recycling of household glass, said Lasse Sunde. "It is frustrating that some industries are threatened with surcharges if waste is not recycled while others totally lack the same kind of economic incentives," Mr Sunde told Nationen newspaper recently.

Follow Up:
SFT, tel: +47 22 57 36 37; Norsk Glassgjenvinning, tel: +47 23 17 39 80.

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