Are we wasting resources? Waste is a valuable resource, not trash. New report from the Nordic Competition Authorities


The Nordic Competition Authorities have published a joint report, Competition in the Waste Management Sector – Preparing for a Circular Economy. The findings of the report indicate that there is a need for increased competition in the waste management sector in the Nordic countries.

The Nordic competition authorities have looked closely at the state of competition in the waste management sector, reviewing common issues and proposing possible solutions in order to create a more efficient sector.

Páll Gunnar Pálsson, director general of the Icelandic Competition Authority (ICA):

By publishing the report the ICA wants to take part in the discourse on how competition can be utilised to create opportunities for increased innovation and efficiency in waste management. Experience has shown that innovation from market actors in this field has frequently lead to advancements in the management of waste.

The ICA believes that competition is not utilised to its full potential in waste management, which in turn leads to higher costs, a lack of environmental protection and impediments to innovation. In the report recommendations are put forth that among other are meant to improve the use of waste as a resource and make environmental objectives attainable.

In the report environmental objectives are taken into account and especially the so-called circular economy. The idea of a circular economy calls for a change of attitude when it comes to waste management. The aim is to reduce the disposal of waste to the furthest extent possible, but for that to be achievable new technologies, better methods for sorting and more efficient methods of management are necessary. The Nordic Competition Authorities believe that competition in waste management will be integral for the circular economy to function. Competition is a tried and tested way to ensure optimal use of society's resources, and particularly to create innovations.

Circular economy:

The so-called circular economy has been introduced as a main policy objective of the EU and the EEA-area. In a circular economy the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible. The aim of the circular economy is to move from the linear industrial economy of taking resources, using them, and then disposing of them once the lifetime of the product is over, to an economy where materials are reused, recycled and finally reintroduced back into production.

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