Competition in the waste management sector


This report focuses on competition in waste management in the Nordic countries. In the preceding years the waste markets have been evolving with an increased emphasis on waste prevention, reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery of materials or energy. The use of market mechanisms in waste management has alsoincreased in recent decades. The European Union has recently implemented the “circular economy” as one of its main policy objectives. The aim of the circular economy is to move from the linear industrial economy of taking resources, using them, and then disposing of them once the lifetime of the product is over, to an economy where materials are reused, recycled and finally reintroduced back into production.

The report consists of six different chapters. The first chapter is an introduction where previous work is reviewed and the evolution of waste management is discussed, amongst other things. In the second chapter, the legal framework in the Nordic countries and the roles of different market operators are reviewed. In this chapter the reader can also find some statistics regarding waste management in the Nordic countries. Chapter three concerns the creation and management of waste markets, with an emphasis on the role of municipalities and the economics of waste management. In chapter four the concept of competitive neutrality is defined and discussed in relation to waste management. In chapter five, the Extended Producer Responsibility concept for certain waste types is discussed and various systems to deal with that responsibility are considered. Possible solutions and recommendations to competition problems in waste management are explored in chapter six, which is followed by concluding remarks reflecting on the way ahead in waste management.