Norwegian package waste recycling pays off

Report for environment ministry estimates annual economic benefits at euros 73m

An independent survey commissioned by Norway's environment ministry has calculated that the country earns NKr600m (euros 73m) annually by collecting and recycling waste packaging. "We are well on the way to meeting our recycling target of 60-80%, and the consumers' diligence in separating waste at source has clearly paid off in environmental as well as economic terms", the ministry says.

Under a series of voluntary agreements drawn up by the government and the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry from 1994, partially based on the EU's 1994 packaging directive, the private sector is responsible for operating a national collection and recovery system. According to a report published in May by the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority, almost three-quarters of all waste packaging is now either recycled (59%) or incinerated for energy generation (12%). (ENDS Daily 23 May).

The new report, by consulting engineers Hjellnes Cowi, concludes that "these agreements have been an effective mechanism: the business community, local authorities and consumers have supported their implementation". Cowi recommends a few "simple adjustments to the agreements" and "a stronger emphasis on waste reduction and information".

The report is being circulated for consultation to the government departments and the six material waste management companies involved in the various agreements.

Follow Up:
Norwegian environment ministry, tel: +47 22 24 58 25; Hjellnes Cowi, tel: +47 22 57 48 00.

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