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Economic policy instruments for plastic waste

A review with Nordic perspectives

image of Economic policy instruments for plastic waste

Achieving a high quality of waste plastic materials and recycling processes is a key challenge in closing the resource loops for plastics. This report reviews the status and trends for plastic waste flows and treatment in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Furthermore, it gives an overview of existing policy instruments and the main challenges for designing policy instruments for improved recycling of plastic waste in these Nordic countries. The report identifies potential market failures associated with closing the resource loops for plastics. It reviews the economics research literature on policy instrument design for achieving optimal recycling rates and makes policy recommendations from the Nordic perspective. Finally, it presents results from a survey on market conditions to managers in the recycling and plastic manufacturing industry in Sweden.

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Introduction

Recycling rates of plastics are currently relatively low in all Nordic countries. Plastics tend to be recycled into low grade products at the same time as at least Sweden, Denmark and Norway have relatively high incineration rates for waste plastics. The treatment of waste plastic could move up in the waste hierarchy to be in accordance with EU legislation and in line with the EUs Green Paper “On a European Strategy on Plastic Waste in the Environment”. Achieving a high quality of waste materials and recycling processes is a key challenge in closing resource loops for plastic. This report reviews the findings in economics research literature on policy instruments that may have potential to lead to socially optimal recycling rates of waste plastics.

English

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