Waste - State and impacts (Norway)
Norway generated 10.4 million tonnes of waste in 2009, down 5 per cent from the previous year. This is the first time since the waste accounts began that the waste amounts fell.
Since 1995, the total waste volume in Norway has increased by 41 per cent. The household waste comprises an increasingly bigger share of the total waste amount. In 2009 households generated 21 per cent of all waste in Norway.
The recovery rate for non-hazardous waste reached 78 per cent in 2009. Recycling comprised 3.2 million tonnes, or 40 per cent, while energy recovery counted for 25 per cent. The remainder was recovered either by biological treatment (e.g. composting) or used as filling compound or cover material at landfills.
Final treatment of waste means landfilling or incineration. Incineration with energy recovery is considered to be recovery, butthesetreatment methods result in different environmental impacts.
Landfilling of waste leads to the generation and release of methane, a greenhouse gas. In 2009, methane from waste accounted for about2 per cent of Norway's greenhouse gas emissions and thus contributes to global warming. Landfilling also represents a threat for coming generations as emissions continue for a very long time after waste is deposited. Incineration of waste leads to emissions of flue gases containing hazardous chemicals, dust and acidic components.
Landfilling declined by 11 per cent in 2009, and amounted to1.9 million tonnes. Hazardous waste disposed of at specially engineered landfills was by far the biggest portion, making up slightly more than one third of the landfilled volumes. The remaining amounts were concrete, glass, plastic, etc., which degrades very slowly in the landfills.
The amount of degradable material going to landfill dropped by as much as 18 per cent in 2009, partly due to a ban on the landfilling of bio-degradable waste that enteredinto force on 1 July 2009, and increased export to Sweden for incineration.
Waste electrical and electronic equipment
More than 153 000 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) was collected in Norway in 2009. This is about32 kg per capita.This figure is higher than the one reported to EU, because Norway categorises more of the waste as WEEE than EU. The waste reported to EU is only WEEE that is covered by the WEEE Directive.
In 2008,a total of 1,1 million tonnes of hazardous wastes were handled according to approved treatment. This represents a5 per cent increase from the previous year. The quantity of hazardous wastes handled by unknown methods is the same figure in 2008 as in 2007, but the long-term trend shows a reduction of 32 per cent since 2003.
If hazardous waste is dumped with ordinary waste it may result in the dispersal of harmful substances in the environment. They may spread via seepage of contaminated water from landfills, or in the flue gases, ash or slag produced in the incineration process. Hazardous waste which is disposed in the sewage may cause increased pollution of sea and seabed due to malfunctioning of purifying plants.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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