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Open AccessArticle

Policy Instruments towards a Sustainable Waste Management

KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Built Environment, Department of Urban Planning and Environment, Division of Environmental Strategies Research, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, PO Box 530 21, SE-400 14 Stockholm, Sweden
Profu AB, Årstaängsvägen 1A, SE-117 43 Stockholm, Sweden
Chalmers University of Technology, Environmental Systems Analysis, Energy and Environment, SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden
Profu AB, Götaforsliden 13, SE-43134 Mölndal, Sweden
IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, P.O. Box 210 60, SE-100 31 Stockholm, Sweden
Luleå University of Technology, Economics Unit, SE-971 87 Luleå, Sweden
Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, University of Gävle, SE-800 76, Gävle, Sweden
Konjunkturinstitutet, P.O. Box 3116, SE-103 62 Stockholm, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2013, 5(3), 841-881;
Received: 22 December 2012 / Revised: 15 February 2013 / Accepted: 18 February 2013 / Published: 27 February 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Waste Management)
The aim of this paper is to suggest and discuss policy instruments that could lead towards a more sustainable waste management. The paper is based on evaluations from a large scale multi-disciplinary Swedish research program. The evaluations focus on environmental and economic impacts as well as social acceptance. The focus is on the Swedish waste management system but the results should be relevant also for other countries. Through the assessments and lessons learned during the research program we conclude that several policy instruments can be effective and possible to implement. Particularly, we put forward the following policy instruments: “Information”; “Compulsory recycling of recyclable materials”; “Weight-based waste fee in combination with information and developed recycling systems”; “Mandatory labeling of products containing hazardous chemicals”, “Advertisements on request only and other waste minimization measures”; and “Differentiated VAT and subsidies for some services”. Compulsory recycling of recyclable materials is the policy instrument that has the largest potential for decreasing the environmental impacts with the configurations studied here. The effects of the other policy instruments studied may be more limited and they typically need to be implemented in combination in order to have more significant impacts. Furthermore, policy makers need to take into account market and international aspects when implementing new instruments. In the more long term perspective, the above set of policy instruments may also need to be complemented with more transformational policy instruments that can significantly decrease the generation of waste. View Full-Text
Keywords: policy instruments; landfilling; incineration; recycling; waste minimization policy instruments; landfilling; incineration; recycling; waste minimization
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Finnveden, G.; Ekvall, T.; Arushanyan, Y.; Bisaillon, M.; Henriksson, G.; Gunnarsson Östling, U.; Söderman, M.L.; Sahlin, J.; Stenmarck, Å.; Sundberg, J.; Sundqvist, J.-O.; Svenfelt, Å.; Söderholm, P.; Björklund, A.; Eriksson, O.; Forsfält, T.; Guath, M. Policy Instruments towards a Sustainable Waste Management. Sustainability 2013, 5, 841-881.

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