New Report: Competition issues in the Waste management sector

A new report by the Nordic competition authorities indicates a need for increased use of competition in the waste management sector.

The Nordic competition authorities have looked closely at the state of competition in the waste management sector, reviewing common issues and proposing possible solutions in order to create a more efficient sector.

– The Authority is of the opinion that competition is underutilised in the sector today, resulting in high costs, and limited innovations, says Øyvind Nilssen, Deputy director in department of Construction, Industry and Energy.

The report offers recommendations on how to improve the use of resources and contribute to the efficient achievement of the targets for recycling.

All municipalities would be well served by using competitive tenders to explore the possibility that the market could provide a cheaper, better solution than what they currently have. At the same time, measures should be taken to ensure procurements are likely to produce the best possible result, through the strengthening of procurement divisions, more cooperation between municipalities and strong central support functions.

– Waste is no longer a problem, but rather a resource. Some municipalities have become very good at using competition in order to obtain the lowest possible waste fees for their inhabitants, whilst maintaining high environmental standards, but equally there is great scope for improvement, says Adviser Eivind Campbell Lillesveen.

The concept of a circular economy requires considerable changes to the way we treat waste. To substantially limit the volume of materials lost through landfilling and incineration will require new technology, improved ways to separate and use waste materials, and more efficient solutions. Competition is a tried and tested way to ensure optimal use of society’s resources, and particularly to create innovations.

In addition to more innovation, increased use of competition may result in significant savings.

– Monopolies, whether public or private, are less likely to reduce costs and innovate. Studies have shown that savings of between 10 and 47 % may be achieved on collection through tendering. The quality of the tendering process is important as well, and the city of Oslo has recently cut their costs by 40 % through performing a thorough procurement procedure, says Nilssen.

Circular economy

In December 2015 the EU Commission launched its Circular Economy Package, to stimulate Europe’s transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.


In a circular economy the value of products and materials is maintained for as long as possible; waste and resource use are minimised, and resources are kept within the economy when a product has reached the end of its life, to be used again and again to create further value.


This model can create secure jobs in Europe, promote innovations that give a competitive advantage and provide a level of protection for humans and the environment that Europe is proud of. It can also provide consumers with more durable and innovative products that provide monetary savings and an increased quality of life

(source: EU Commission)