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Factsheet for Norway

1. General facts

CountryNorway (NO)
Surface area324,220 Km²
Population (thousands)4743
Population density14
Persons per household2.8
GDP per capita PPS189.8
GDP per capita
Household characteristicsPercentage living in rural areas: 25%
Percentage living in urban areas: 75%
Gross value added41.2% Industry, including energy
4.8% Construction
15.7% Trade, transport and communication services
17.7% Business activities and financial services
19.5% Other services
1.1% Agriculture, hunting and fishing

2. Legislation overview

This chapter provides a short overview on the Norwegian Pollution Control Act.

It is the first unified law in Norway concerning pollution and waste issues. It was at that time a political goal to create one basic legal framework for all types of pollution and waste.

The Pollution Control Act is a typical enabling act. This means that the details in each case are outlined in discharge permits and regulations issued by the pollution control authorities. The Act was established for the purpose of preventing and reducing harm and nuisance from pollution. This is reflected in the main rule of the act, which says that pollution is forbidden, unless it is specifically permitted by law, regulations or individual permits.

Section 1 of the Act states that the purpose of the Act is to protect the outdoor environment against pollution and to reduce existing pollution and waste. But environmental protection is not the only relevant consideration here. The act shall secure a satisfactory environmental quality based on a balance of interests, which includes costs associated with any measures and other economic considerations. 

Pollution is defined in section 6 of the Act. The definition has two aspects. In the first place, certain actions must be present. There has to be a discharge of solids, liquids or gases to air, water or ground. This discharge must be caused by human activity, not by nature itself. Secondly, there has to be a risk of adverse effects or impacts on the environment. The discharge has to effect the recipient. It is enough that the discharge may cause damage or nuisance to the environment. That is in accordance with the precautionary principle. Any damage or nuisance is relevant here, whether they affect humans, animals or nature itself. 

The Norwegian Pollution Control Act distinguishes between legal and illegal pollution. Section 7, first paragraph, states the basic principle and the main rule of the act: It is not allowed to possess, do, or initiate anything that may entail a risk of pollution, unless this is specifically permitted by law. 

Almost all pollution activity in Norway is based on individual permits or licences issued by the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority or the county environmental agencies. Whether a permit is granted or not, depends on the professional judgement of the pollution control authorities.

In addition to the Ministry of Environment, Norway has three authority levels with regards to waste handling.

1.      The Pollution Control Authority is responsible for following up firms that manage hazardous waste, which include both incinerators and landfills. The Authority also prepares suggestions for new waste regulations to the Ministry.

2.      The County Governors are responsible for non-hazardous waste management, although they also follow up firms that handle some hazardous waste.

3.      The Municipalities are responsible for following up collection and management of household waste. The municipalities are also responsible for local waste issues such as the ban on littering and open fire.

The Pollution Control Act regulates nearly all waste management activities. Specific requirements are given in Waste regulations under the Act. There are a number of waste regulations covering waste treatments such as landfilling and incineration or waste management of specific waste streams.  

2.2 National acts

ReferenceMain content
The Norwegian Pollution Control Act is from 1981, for more info: http://www.sft.no/artikkel____33746.aspxThe Pollution Control Act is from 1981. It is the first unified law in Norway concerning pollution and waste issues. It was at that time a political goal to create one basic legal framework for all types of pollution and waste. One whole chapter, chp 5, concerns waste and waste management.
Waste Regulation (Avfallsforskriften, 2004) All the different regulations concerning waste and waste handling is gathered in on big regulation called “Avfallsforskriften”/Waste regulation. It contains 14 chapters, and regulates explicitly different waste categories such as:
- Waste electrical and electronic equipment (EE equipment).
- Handling of discarded refrigeration equipment containing CFC
- Batteries which are hazardous to the environment
- End-of-life vehicles
- Collection and recycling of discarded tyres
- Take-back systems for beverage packaging
- Refund of taxes paid on trichloroethyleneTRI ,
- and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).
- Landfilling of waste
- Incineration of waste
- Hazardous waste
- Permits for transfrontier shipment of waste
- Discarded insulating glass units containing PCBs

2.2.2 National legislation

NameReferenceYear
Landfill Directive 99/31Norwegian Waste Regulations2002
Landfill Decision 33/03Norwegian Waste Regulations2007
Incineration Directive 76/00Norwegian Waste Regulations2006

2.2.3 Selected legislation

NameReference
BMW (Bio-degradable municipal waste)The Norwegian Waste Regulations, Chapter 9 Landfilling of waste
Construction/demolition wasteThe Norwegian Waste Regulations, Chapter 15 About construction and demolition waste

2.3 Regional waste acts

Regional waste regulations in Norway cover responsibilities and fees in connection with collection and management of household waste. Municipalities also administer the ban on littering. Link: http://www.lovdata.no/ (in Norwegian)

3. Waste management plans

no information

3.1 National plan

The Norwegian Government issues a White Paper on the environment almost every second year. The White Paper outlines the national waste targets and the instruments on how to reach them. This is analogue to a national waste management plan, apart from it does not have a legal reference. The White Paper is a report on the state of the environment and a discussion on the government’s future policy on this particular field.   .

The Paper includes several waste targets for the coming years. The national targets aim to

Further, the Paper describes new or revised instruments that the Government wants to put in place or have put in place to reach the targets:

3.2 Regional plans

County Governors have no mandatory waste management plans. Some municipalities have local waste management plans, but this is not compulsory either.

4. Waste prevention for Norway

4.1. Objectives

no information

4.2. Targets

4.3. Strategy

Norway has introduced a financial support scheme to increase utilization of energy from waste treatment, in particular to address treatment of biodegradable waste. The scheme is handled through ENOVA which is an enterprise that was established to take a leading role in promoting environmentally friendly restructuring of energy consumption and energy generation in Norway. It is owned and financed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE).

Norway has introduced a national strategy for hazardous waste which is mentioned in 3.1.

4.4. Policy instruments

4.4.1. Regulatory instruments

Overview

no information

Additional info

no information

4.4.2. Market-based instruments

Overview

no information

Additional info

no information

4.4.3. Information-based instruments

Overview

The Environmental Authorities carry out national and local information campaigns on waste issues every year. The last few years, these campaigns have been connected to landfilling of waste, hazardous waste, illegal export of waste and others. These campaigns are a mix of information and control of the regulations. This autumn (2009) there is a national campaign on the new Norwegian Regulation on C&D-waste.

4.4.4. Voluntary instruments

Overview

In Norway, the Environmental Authorities are not involved in voluntary schemes such as EMAS or ISO 14001. With regards to eco-labelling, there is a Norwegian foundation called “Miljømerking” where businesses and others can apply to have their products or services ecolabelled. Again, the Environmental Authorities are not involved in this work. Link: http://www.ecolabel.no/

Additional info

no information

4.5 Waste prevention examples

5. Construction and Demolition Waste for Norway

5.1. Objectives

no information

5.2. Targets

5.3. Strategy

no information

5.4. Policy instruments

5.4.1. Regulatory instruments

Regulatory instrument
Titleno information
Scope Information on handling of construction and demolition waste

Year2008
Transition periodno information
ObjectivesThe objective is to promote and ensure correct handling of CD-waste, prevent illegal dumping of C&D waste and raise awareness amongst the waste producers.
TargetsThe waste producer must sort minimum 60% of the waste.
DescriptionContractors must outline their waste management plans which must be accepted by the municipality before work begins. Further, there must be a survey on amounts and types of hazardous waste.
ImplementationNorwegian Waste Regulation, chapter 15.
ResultThere has been national campaigns to evaluate how entrepreneurs have followed up the new regulations.

Additional info

Secondly, the Norwegian Law on Product Control requires all businesses to consider substitution of products containing hazardous compounds with other products containing less hazardous compounds. This applies to the C&D industry as well. 

5.4.2. Market-based instruments

Additional info

Incineration tax and landfill tax are valid for C&D wastes.

5.4.3. Information-based instruments

Additional info

The Environmental Authorities carry out national and local information campaigns on waste issues every year. The last few years, these campaigns have been connected to landfilling of waste, hazardous waste, illegal export of waste and others. These campaigns are a mix of information and control of the regulations. This autumn (2009) there is a national campaign on the new Norwegian Regulation on C&D-waste.

5.4.4. Voluntary instruments

Additional info

In Norway, the Environmental Authorities are not involved in voluntary schemes such as EMAS or ISO 14001. With regards to eco-labelling, there is a Norwegian foundation called “Miljømerking” where businesses and others can apply to have their products or services ecolabelled. Again, the Environmental Authorities are not involved in this work. Link: http://www.ecolabel.no/

6. Biodegradable Municipal Waste - Norway

6.1. Objectives

Norway has implemented a ban on landfilling biodegradable waste. This is a part of the Regulation of landfilling, chapter 9 in the Waste Regulations.

6.2. Targets

·         The ban on landfilling biodegradable waste, apply to waste that contains 10% TOC or more.

6.3. Strategy

no information

6.4. Policy instruments

6.4.1. Regulatory instruments

Regulatory instrument
TitleBan on landfilling biodegradable waste
Scopeno informtion
Year1. J
Transition periodThe ban was adopted by the Ministry of Environment in June 2008 and implemented 1. July 2009. There will be a period of 1-3 years where it is possible to apply for exceptions from the ban as treatment capacity for biodegradable waste in Norway is not adequate yet.
ObjectivesReduce landfilling of BMW and reduce emissions of methane.
Targetsno informtion
DescriptionBan on landfilling of biodegradable waste (paper, wood, garden waste, food, textiles)
Implementationno informtion
ResultThe ban is newly introduced so it will be evaluated later. However, the Authority assumes that methane emissions from landfills will be reduced drastically and more biodegradable waste will be recycled.

6.4.2. Market-based instruments

Market-based instrument
TitleLandfill tax
Scopeno information
Year1999
Transition periodno information
ObjectivesTo encourage recycling of materials and internalise the environmental costs of landfilling
Targetsno information
DescriptionIn 2007 it was 416 NOK pr tonne waste on landfills with double side and bottom lining, and 541 NOK for those without double lining.
Implementationno information
ResultIf we look at the statistics from industry and business it shows a decreasing trend of waste being landfilled. This is due to that industry and business got more to gain on material recycling their waste. If we look at household waste it shows that this waste source is increasing more than GDP and also waste being landfilled from this source is increasing. But the all the waste being generated in Norway, 70 percent is recycled. Less waste is being landfilled, but not only due to this tax. This reduction is the result of several measures which were introduced in the waste sector particularly in the 1990s. With a few exceptions, it is prohibited to dispose easy degradable organic waste, sewage sludge included, at landfills in Norway.
Market-based instrument
TitleIncineration tax
Scopeno information
Year1999
Transition periodno information
ObjectivesTo encourage recycling of materials and internalise the environmental costs of incineration
Targetsno information
DescriptionDepending average figures on emission, the cost is in the range of 90 -120 NOK/tons
Implementationno information
ResultThe result of the introduction of the incineration tax is more linked to reduction of emissions than waste prevention.

Additional info

no information

6.4.3. Information-based instruments

6.4.4. Voluntary instruments

Results

Biodegradable municipal waste

Please, see 5.4.2.

Construction and demolition waste

SFT, County Governors and municipalities are organising campaigns to control the CD-industry to see whether they follow up the new regulations.

7. Bibliography

No information

8. Country links to national waste information