Swedish Waste Management 2018 is intended for actors in the waste management industry, decision makers, authorities, educational institutions, the media and all other stakeholders. Using text, diagrams and tables we describe the management of household waste in Sweden. Statistics are taken from the Avfall Sverige web-based statistics system, Avfall Web, and from producer organisations.
Preventing the creation of waste is the top step in the waste hierarchy. It is the priority of both Swedish and European waste legislation. The waste hierarchy priority is: » waste prevention » reuse » material recycling and biological treatment » other recycling, e.g. energy recovery » disposal, e.g. to landfill. Exceptions to this hierarchy may be necessary for technical, financial or environmental reasons.
According to the definition in the Swedish Environmental Code1 , waste is any matter or object that the bearer disposes of, intends to dispose of, or is obligated to dispose of. There are different methods for treating waste2 : » material recycling » biological treatment » energy recovery » landfill.
Hazardous waste can be treated using one or more of these methods, depending on its properties. Waste that may contain hazardous substances should not be recycled, but rather phased out of the eco-cycle.
Recycling means that the waste will be used as replacement for another material. Preparation for reuse is also a recovery operation. According to the definition, preparation for reuse means inspecting, cleaning or repairing any item that is waste so it can be reused without further treatment. Material recovery saves energy and natural resources, thereby reducing environmental impact.
Biological treatment closes the eco-cycle and returns nutrients to the soil. With biological treatment, the waste is treated through anaerobic digestion (treatment without access to oxygen) or composting (treatment with access to oxygen, which is known as aerobic treatment). Anaerobic digestion produces digestate for fields as well as biogas, which can be used as vehicle fuel. Compost is a soil conditioner which can be used in gardens, parks and landscaping.
Energy recovery is a method ideally suited for waste which cannot be recycled in any other way. Recovering energy from waste provides both district heating and electricity. Landfill is a treatment method for waste that cannot or should not be recycled.
Landfill entails waste being stored in a manner that is safe in the long-term. Sending organic or combustible waste to landfill is prohibited.