Webinar: Quality improvements in MSW and post-consumer packaging recycling

On 17th November we held our webinar on Quality improvements in MSW and post-consumer packaging recycling.

Our first presentation was by Mr. Marcus Samuelsen, Head of ICT and Development from IRIS-Salten IKS, an inter-municipal waste management company owned by nine municipalities in the Salten region of Norway with head office in Bodø.

IRIS-Salten aims to be a company for people and businesses and focuses on two main areas: Traditional waste management and within fisheries and agriculture, where they perform industrial water cleaning. They are the biggest private cleaning lab in the area.

In the Salten region, IRIS-Salten serves a population of 75,000 people and has a strict separate waste collection for inhabitants and businesses.

They currently have two methods for waste disposal. One is through bins, where each household puts their bins out on the curb on their designated collection days. Customers receive notifications on the Iris mobile app when the bins will be emptied. The other is though shared waste collection, where waste is directed to underground containers. Residents using these bins are given an access card that allows them to open and deposit their waste in the right bin.

Households with curb side waste collection are on a Pay As You Throw (PAYT) scheme where they pay a fee depending on the size of their containers.

The main factor that has driven the success of IRIS is communication and changing behaviours of inhabitants. Part of this has included working with Bordalo II, an artist that uses street garbage to create animal sculptures. The aim of his sculptures is to warn people about pollution and endangered species.

IRIS-Salten is ambassador for the Action Now programme, an initiative by Bodø/Glimt Football Club, which aims to raise awareness about the UN’s sustainability goals within the population and business community, inspire partnerships to build strong local communities and to take action through sustainable projects.

Another initiative established by IRIS Salten is KRAFT, a centre with 60 partners currently, that aims to drive sustainable development through establishing connections for innovation, finance and new ways of collaboration.

An analysis they conducted on the usage of their underground containers helped understand when and how much residents are using them as well as which fractions. They have found there is still big potential in residual waste, as 60% of the waste consists of other fractions, mainly plastic, organic and textiles.

From 2019, they have been working on a digitalisation strategy that focuses on how the processes, technology and organisation work together. While doing so, they are working on short term projects that get maximum results with less financing, all towards a long-term vision.

In terms of future developments, in the short term they will be working on access control, optimising collection routes and improvements in their fee structure.

In the longer term, they aim to explore digitalisation more and the potential of the app as there could possibilities to provide incentives through gamification and social comparison, i.e. how residents compare with their neighbours or during other times of the year. Other incentives are target based, where residents can set their own goals for waste management as well as providing information to residents on the impact of their waste. A challenge in doing so is in how to attract residents’ attention in a time when people are bombarded with information. Another aspect to consider is that youth prefer using digital communications instead of calling.

The second presentation was given by Mr. Arve Martinsen, Head of Communication, Industry for Grønt Punkt Norge (Green Dot Norway) a non-profit organisation responsible for financing the recovery and recycling of used packaging on behalf of the industrial sector.

It began as a voluntary movement in 1994-95 and has been a pioneer for sorting and recycling in Norway with reliable, transparent and innovative recycling schemes.

Green Dot Norway is funded by its members, (currently 6,500) from which it collects license fees so that members may carry the Green Dot trademark on their packaging. All companies that use packaging have a responsibility to ensure it is being handled in a proper. Anyone that has at least 1,000kg of packaging waste must have a Green Dot. Bearing the trademark verifies that the relevant member company has paid a recycling fee for that packaging.

As a non-profit, all funds Green Dot Norway receives go to communication and packaging recycling. Its members are all treated the same and pay the same price per kg for packaging with each material bearing its own costs.

All Green Dot Norway’s members are treated equally, so all companies pay the same price per kilo for all packaging, with each material bearing its own costs. The same goes for municipalities and authorised operators, all are supported in the same manner.

They maintain a transparent system and report annually to the environmental authorities.

Green Dot is also responsible for the “Plastic Pledge”, an industry initiative to increase use of recycled plastic, reduce unnecessary use of plastics and design for recycling.

The Plastic Pledge aims to help Norwegian companies to reach their EU goals for material recycling of plastic packaging of 50% of all plastics by 2025 and 55% by 2030.

Companies joining the initiative and taking the pledge must commit to increase their use of recycled plastic, actively reduce the use of plastic and reuse plastic or design the packaging in a manner suitable for recycling. They are also encouraged to report on their results and activities to Green Dot Norway and they must attend annual meetings about design for recycling and environmental analysis

Through this initiative it is aimed that plastic packaging in the future will be designed in smarter, more innovative ways and will be more sustainable.

The Circular Based Waste Management project is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation – eeagrants.org.

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