Waste - State and impacts (Sweden)
Recovery and material recycling has increased since producer responsibility for packaging was introduced in 1994.
b) What are the state (S) and impacts (I) related to this theme, including impacts on the natural environment and human health/human well-being, both at national level as well as in transboundary terms?
The polluter-pays principle (PPP) is one of the cornerstones in financing environmental measures and protection in Sweden.
In Sweden there is producer responsibility for:
- cars/end of life vehicles (ELV)
- waste electrical and electronic equipment ( WEEE)
- certain drinking containers
- light bulbs and certain light fittings
Recovery and material recycling has increased since producer responsibility for packaging was introduced in 1994. There is also a trend towards less packaging per kilo sold product.
The national target is that 75 % of the paper put on the market should be collected and treated in an environmentally sound manner. In 2008, the recycling rate was 89 %.
The recovery rate for scrapped tyres is estimated at 97 %. More than half of the collected tyres were used in the cement industry or thermal power plants. Approximately a third of the material was recycled, or used to replace other raw materials. No tyres were put on landfill.
During 2007, 90 % of the weight of scrapped vehicles was reused or recycled. The producers have thereby reached the target specified in the ordinance. The target is 85 % reuse and recovery by an average weight per vehicle and year.
Waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)
All collection of WEEE is to be reported to the EE Register of the Swedish EPA,
Swedish producers put a total of 284 000 tonnes of electrical and electronic products on the market and collected 150 000 tonnes of WEEE during 2008, according to their reports to the EE Register. More than 99 % of the collected WEEE was recovered in Sweden.
The landfilling of industrial waste is decreasing and the amounts have been more than halved compared to 1994. The landfilling of household waste was decreased by almost 1.2 million from 1994 to 2006. The important policy instruments for this development are described at the EPA website,
During 2008, about 600 000 tonnes of municipal waste (household and similar wastes) were biologically treated, which is an increase by 6.4 % compared to 2007. Biological treatment accounts for 12.6 % of the total quantity of treated household waste. A total of 64.5 kg of food waste and green waste per person was biologically treated in 2008.
In 2008, there were 31 facilities for composting of household waste and 16 facilities for digestion. The main part of the waste treated in the facilities for digestion consists of industrial waste.
How waste is collected in Sweden
The fastest-growing collection method for household waste is for households to drop off bulky waste and hazardous waste at one of the municipality recycling centres. There are about 650 manned recycling centres in the country. All over the country there are also approximately 5 800 unmanned recycling stations for packaging and paper, which constitute the producers' system for recycling.
The amount of waste increases
The environmental impact from waste management in Sweden has decreased over the last 15 years. Less waste is going into landfills, while more is being recycled, biologically treated, or incinerated. But the waste amounts are still increasing. The environmental impact of the waste we generate could be reduced further by waste prevention. Our focus the coming years must be on reducing the hazardous properties and the volume of our waste.
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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