June 2018

Nordic Nations Commission Waste Prevention and Recycling Review

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We have been appointed by the Nordic Council of Ministers Waste Group (NWG) and the Swedish EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to analyse the existing regulatory framework for waste prevention and recycling currently applied in Nordic regions.

The NWG and the Swedish EPA commissioned the research to understand better the effect of existing policy instruments specifically in relation to managing household waste.

The chairman of NWG, Helena Dahlbo, said:

NWG concentrates on promoting sustainable production and consumption and increased resource efficiency in the waste management phase by emphasizing waste prevention. For the waste generated in spite of prevention, safe material circles are promoted.”

Drawing from our in-depth knowledge of waste policy across the EU28 and OECD, we will lead the project, providing a new perspective, informed by technical capabilities and policy knowledge from both within, and beyond, the Nordic region. Our consultants will work closely with subcontractors Tyréns AB, Suomen ympäristökeskus (Finnish Environment Institute), Affaldskontoret and Intellecon, leading policy, economics and regulatory experts from the different regions. The scope of the review will cover approaches in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands.

Eunomia Project Director Joe Papineschi said:

“It’s great to see the Nordic regions have teamed up to better understand what path will lead them towards a truly circular economy. I hope this inspires other parts of Europe to start thinking about how they’re going to meet the more ambitious targets announced in the new Circular Economy Package. During the project we will be focussing in particular on the upper tiers of the hierarchy, prevention and recycling, though we will also consider the other tiers.”

“The revised Waste Framework Directive definition of municipal waste will be applied in this study to ensure relevance and comparability of the results of the analysis at Nordic regional level and across Europe.”

The project team are already gathering specific datasets for analysis. Our experienced modellers are using data in time-series econometric models to illustrate the influence of different policy instruments, allowing country specifics to be taken into account, such as household income, consumption behaviour and existing infrastructure. This evidence will be used to map out the effects of both legal and economic policy instruments in use (such as taxes, charges and grants) and to inform policy recommendations for the future. The analysis will be supported, for each country, by a comprehensive presentation of each policy instrument.

The second part of the project will focus on which policies may need to be introduced to meet the recycling targets in the European Commission’s revised Waste Framework Directive, the recycling targets in the revised Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, and the targets in the landfill Directive, as well as assessing how the timing of different changes could affect overall impact. The final report will offer policy recommendations based on evidence gathered, designed to lead the Nordic nations towards a circular economy and to exceed the aforementioned targets.