Less to the landfills -SEPA


The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency: 50% LESS TO THE LANDFILLS WITHIN TEN YEARS

The amount of waste that ends up in our landfills can be reduced by at least half, according to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in its Action Plan for Waste Management for the coming decade. In a proposal submitted to the Swedish Government, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests that Sweden introduce:

- compulsory separation of the waste at the source from the year 2000.

- the possibility for the Environmental Protection Agency and other authorities to adopt regulations on treatment of different kinds of waste

- a ban on landfilling of kitchen refuse, yard waste and other organic waste after 2005.

- more stringent environmental requirements for our landfills.

Other proposals include compulsory permits for all waste transports. In its action plan, SEPA also confirms the need for the waste tax on all waste to landfills previously announced by the Swedish government. The cost of depositing waste in a landfill will be raised by 60-120%, which will bring this cost into line with other waste treatment methods, such as composting or production of decomposition gas.

"It has been our intention, in submitting this action plan to the government, to make it possible both to reduce quantities of waste and to remove hazardous substances from the waste. It will also lead to a safer management of the waste fractions that will inevitably still be. It is a matter both of reducing resource consumption and keeping our landfills from becoming the environmental time bombs of the future," says Eva Smith, director of the Industry and Ecocycles Department, SEPA.

In its Action Plan for Waste Management, SEPA sets out some deadlines for waste management during the decade covered, including:

- The quantities of household waste that end up in landfills are to have been cut back by 50% by the year 2000, and by 70% by 2005, in comparison with the 1994 levels. The total amount of waste will only be negligibly reduced, but increasing amounts will go to recycling, incineration, composting or decomposition.

- By the year 2000, the quantities of office, commercial, construction and demolition waste are to have been reduced by half, as are the equivalent quantities of industrial waste. Recycling and incineration are expected to be more than double, in comparison with the 1994 levels.

- By the year 2005, the fraction of production waste that goes to landfilling is also to have been reduced by 50%.

In a special report: Maal foer saerskilda avfallsslag : aktionsplan avfall ("Objectives for special types of waste") (report 4602), SEPA has set out objectives for individual branches of industry. According to SEPA, the production waste fraction is also to have been cut back by an average of 10% (calculated per produced commodity) by the year 2010.

Three kinds of waste

All waste is to be sorted into three main groups: waste that constitutes an environmental or health hazard, waste that can be returned to a market, and waste for treatment. Thus hazardous waste is to be sent to special hazardous waste collection sites, and recyclable waste to recycling centres, while the treatment fraction is to be sorted into food and other organic waste, waste to be incinerated, and waste requiring landfilling.

To increase public interest in recycling, an extended producer responsibility system has been introduced for more and more categories of waste in recent years. Today, for example, we have producer responsibility for packaging materials, tyres, and used newsprint. This means that the manufacturer, importer or seller of such goods is also responsible for dealing with them as waste. Swedish legislation today also requires local governments to take responsibility for sanitation and for collection and handling of household waste. Local governments may also voluntarily take responsibility for some industrial waste.

To co-ordinate producers collection and municipal waste management, SEPA is proposing that there be compulsory consultation between the waste collection companies used by producers and the local governments. SEPA is also proposing that restrictions be imposed regarding what kinds of industrial waste municipalities still be allowed to take responsibility for, in pace with the introduction of producer responsibility for more and more types of waste.

The Action Plan for Waste Management covers consumer waste (from households, parks and gardens, construction sites and company waste in the form of packaging, pallets, etc.) and industrial waste from production processes. Waste from agriculture and forestry are not covered by the Action Plan.

For information please contact:

Taina Baeckstroem, Project Director, tel: +46 8 698 1159,
e-mail: Taina.Backstrom@environ.se
Bjorn Sodermark, Head of Section, tel: +46 8 698 1141
e-mail: Bjorn.Sodermark@environ.se
Tor Borinder, industrial waste, tel: +46 8 698 1181
e-mail: tor.borinder@environ.se
Press Service:

Katrin Hallman, tel: +46 8 698 1544,
Anna Bonta-Anger, tel: +46 8 698 1084,
e-mail: Anna.Bonta-Anger@environ.se

  Arne Sjoeqvist
  Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
  S-106 48  STOCKHOLM
  ars@environ.se    Tel:+46 8 6981273    Fax: +46 8 6981400
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