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Here we have summarized information that provides an overview on different aspects of the Swedish solid waste management.

The Swedish EPA is a central environmental authority. One of our work areas is to ensure that waste management is environmentally acceptable, effective for society and simple for consumers. Here you can learn more about the different aspects of the Swedish waste management that many of our international cooperation partners often ask us about.

Waste management in Sweden

Extended Producers Responsibility

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a widely used environmental policy in many countries in which producers’ responsibility for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a products life cycle.

Producers responsibility is also intended to encourage producers to develop products that are resource efficient, easy to recycle and do not contain hazardous substances.

There are currently EPR schemes for the following seven product groups:

  • packaging,
  • newsprint,
  • electrical and electronical products (EEE),
  • batteries,
  • tyres,
  • end-of-life vehicles and
  • pharmaceuticals.

In Sweden, the producers have ownership of the material, the infrastructure and the financing of the systems. The legislation through ordinances for each EPR scheme places the responsibility for the proper end-of-life management of waste products on the individual producers. However, in practice producers work collectively to exercise this responsibility by setting up or affiliating themselves with Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs).

In general, the producers have a well organised structure for collection and treatment of EPR type of waste. Most PROs collaborate with the Swedish municipalities to enable households to easily drop off EPR type of products once they become waste.

EPR schemes for packaging, newsprint, batteries, EEE and end-of-life vehicles have national targets concerning either collection rate or rate of material recovery (or similar). The targets are defined within each EPR ordinance and for some materials such as paper packaging and EEE, the targets are higher compared to targets set in EU directives regulating EPR. The only EPR schemes without national targets are the ones regarding tyres and pharmaceutical waste. For tyres, the producers have set their own targets for collection and recycling.

The levels of collected material and material recovery are relatively high and for most product groups, national targets are met or exceeded.

Guidance in Extended Producers Responsibility

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency offers guidance to producers in several areas.

The Waste Registry

According to the Waste Ordinance, notes kept on hazardous waste must be reported to the Waste Registry. Here is information about which information that are to be submitted.

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Examples from Sweden on Reducing Food Waste

The Swedish Government sets national goals to clarify where efforts should be made. 

The two milestone targets for reduction of food waste in Sweden are:

1. The total food waste must be reduced by at least 20 percent by weight per capita from 2020 to 2025.

2. An increased share of produced food must reach stores and consumers by 2025, so as to avoid food losses

Examples from Sweden on Reducing Food Waste (pdf 1,62 MB )