Webinar: Norwegian Legislative developments and strategies to increase recycling rates from household waste

Today we were joined by Mr. Marius Knagenhjelm, senior advisor at the section for Waste Management and Recycling at the Norwegian Environment Agency.

The Norwegian Environment Agency is a government agency under the Ministry of Climate and Environment. Their role is to implement and give advice on the development of climate and environmental policies in Norway. They are professionally independent.

Their principal functions include collating and communicating environmental information, exercising regulatory authority, supervising and guiding regional and local government level, giving professional and technical advice, and participating in international environmental activities.

Mr. Knagenhjelm pointed out Norway is also bound by the EU targets for municipal waste and has a target to increase from the 41% of municipal waste being recycled to 55% by 2025 and 65% by 2035.

The Norwegian Environment Agency have been tasked with carrying out the analysis and put forward proposals for the specific investments required to meet these targets. These include personnel or infrastructure needed to prepare for reuse and actions that would reduce the amounts of mixed waste. The latter is one of the biggest challenges currently, as although there is a good infrastructure in place, still up to 70% of waste can be misplaced.

Getting hold of accurate data and costs is highly important in order to put such proposals in place and to understand how to plan future infrastructure and actions.

Importance is also placed on the responsibility by the municipalities, as the measures and costs fall on them. To increase practices and actions in waste management, establishing regulations on waste is key and economic measures need to be looked into as the broader context of a circular economy.

Incentivisation is also a key component to encourage higher rates of sorting and recycling. Cost efficiency and effects on targets vary extremely as there are a number of factors at play.

From the analysis conducted, 6 measures in particular have been identified to have a net positive effect in reaching the aforementioned targets: pay as you throw, reuse of furniture, improved sorting from households and improved sorting of MSW from businesses, separate collection of garden waste and separate collection of textiles.

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