Conditions and Constraints for Waste Management. Collection, Characterisation and Producer Responsibility in Sweden

Sammanfattning: Waste management has changed from being mainly a question of transporting out of sight to being an issue entwined in all parts of society, from product planning to the private domestic sphere. This has imposed new conditions and constraints for waste management, the description of which is the objective of this thesis.

The overall policy in Sweden is that all waste should be treated according to its characteristics and reincorporated into societal material flows. The main aim is to reduce the quantities of household waste generated and the amounts sent to landfill. To give waste management a broader perspective and to establish a waste hierarchy, producer responsibility legislation was introduced in Sweden in 1994. According to this, paper/newsprint and packaging waste have to be sorted at source and collected separately. Source separation is today an established part of legislation and public thinking and is probably here to stay so waste management providers must adapt to this situation.

In order to obtain high participation rates in source separation programmes, they have to be designed so as to decrease any barriers to participation. The design of collection systems has many aspects since they must be both technically feasible and accepted and understood by the public. Recurring and adequate information to households are is very important for the function of the collection system, but both these and other design parameters should be adapted to local conditions. The differences in the systems used in Sweden today do not lie mainly in technical features but rather in how, why, by and for whom they were developed.

To plan waste management, the characteristics of the waste must be known, due to temporal and regional variations these are best evaluated through waste component analysis. The aim of such analysis determines the level on which it should be conducted: national, regional or household level. When post-collection sampling is possible at a treatment plant, the procedure can be made more efficient and less resource-demanding. The methods for waste component analysis presented in this thesis can be a useful tool in future waste management planning.

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