Growing mountains of waste reduce when the waste is weighed

Den andra av tre inlämningsuppgifter kom under kursens sjätte vecka som gäller Environmental policy. Trevlig läsning.


Write a response that promotes an environmental policy from your region or country, which you believe should be more widely emulated. Explain the policy and argue why other regions or countries should adopt it. Using the language of the text and lectures, describe why this is a good policy, or why it may not have been more widely adopted.

To stop the waste mountains from growing the municipality of Gothenburg 2011 started to change the waste tax in a few communities and let the people pay in proportion to the amount of waste the produced. The municipality was hoping that people would help each other to recycle more and decrease the amount of waste. The goal decided in the regional waste plan was:

”The amount of domestic waste produced in 2020 shall be lower than the amount produced in 2008, 453 kg/person” [my translation]

Another reason to introduce the new tax system was to break to correlation between increased consumption and increased amount of waste and to minimise the amount waste that isn’t recycled, and thereby creating a sustainable consumption.

Getting a new waste tax all of a sudden might seem to be a tough situation but for several decades, Sweden has had a very great system for recycling different materials. Newspapers and packaging of paper, plastic and metal are left at rather small recycling stations, located close to domestic areas, well in reach for many people. The waste can also be left at larger recycling facilities. Bulky waste and electronics are left at the recycling facilities and batteries, light sources, and hazardous waste such as paint residue, spill oil and other kinds of chemicals are left at environmental stations found within all recycling facilities. This should make the change for people a lot easier than at first glance.

In Gothenburg the amount of waste has currently decreased by 57 kg/person since 2008 so the goal is well within reach.

To change the waste tax to match the amount of each household’s waste gives each and everyone the opportunity to affect their own tax. The amount of tax might even be lower than prior to the change which would serve as a great incentive for a behavioural change i.e. a market incentive pigovian tax.

I think to whole Swedish system with recycling and weighing of waste is doing good for the use of the earth’s resources and if it also can break the correlation between consumption and the amount of produced waste it’s well worth to spread the system and this policy to other cities within and outside Sweden as well as to countries with high consumption and large amount of waste where the negative trend can be stopped and hopefully change the course toward sustainability.



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