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Waste generation increases more than GDP

Target

4.3 The growth in the quantity of waste generated will be considerably lower than the rate of economic growth, and the resources in waste will be used as fully as possible through recycling and energy recovery.

Indicator

Growth in waste generation relative to economic growth (expressed as change in GDP)
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Are we moving in the right direction? Published by the Norwegian Environment Agency

In Norway, we have a national target which states that the growth in the amount of waste shall be considerably lower than the growth in the economy (GDP at constant prices). From 1995 to 2015 the total amount of waste increased by 56 %, while GDP increased by 50 %. From 2014 to 2015 waste rose by 3 %, while GDP increased by 2 %1. The national target has therefore not been reached.

Between 2007 and 2009, the growth in waste rates were lower than economic growth, but after 2009, waste volumes have increased more than GDP. Over the last few years there has also been an increase i waste volumes from households. Each of us threw 439 kilos of waste in 2015.

The waste accounts for Norway have been subject to major changes in both methodology and categories from 2012. This means that there is a structural break in the time series, but the figures for total amounts of waste are broadly comparable.

Measures to reduce emissions

The central government authorities have put in place a number of policy instruments including legislation, taxes and economic incentives targeted at the municipalities, businesses and industry.

So far, we have seen a positive effect especially with regard to waste recovery and reduced emissions from waste treatment. The full effect of the policy instruments is expected to increase. This particularly applies to the initiatives that require reorganisation by the municipalities and businesses, and a change in people’s habits and behaviour.