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Future Opportunities for Bioeconomy

Focus on the West Nordic Region

image of Future Opportunities for Bioeconomy

Achieving a high quality of waste plastic materials and recycling processes is a key challenge in closing the resource loops for plastics. This report reviews the status and trends for plastic waste flows and treatment in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Furthermore, it gives an overview of existing policy instruments and the main challenges for designing policy instruments for improved recycling of plastic waste in these Nordic countries. The report identifies potential market failures associated with closing the resource loops for plastics. It reviews the economics research literature on policy instrument design for achieving optimal recycling rates and makes policy recommendations from the Nordic perspective. Finally, it presents results from a survey on market conditions to managers in the recycling and plastic manufacturing industry in Sweden.

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Discussions and conclusions

The bioeconomy in the West Nordic countries is a large part of the GDP compared to the other Nordic countries. Their production and export is mainly limited to primary production. However, this also opens up possibilities for growth and added value creation for the economy of the West Nordic countries by strengthening secondary industries and service sectors. The common interests of the West Nordic countries are apparent. They call for close cooperation of the countries in putting their common interests on the agenda both in Nordic and other international collaboration and strategy settings. A clear and focused strategy for the West Nordic region with specific priorities is vital for effective participation in international forums on bioeconomy. Therefore, a West Nordic Bioeconomy panel would be a forum for realizing such a strategy as well as a platform for promoting common policy, to identify opportunities, advice industry, governments and the public as well as set a common strategy for the West Nordic region with policy- research-, commerce, NGO’s and industry partners alike. This would help maintain and strengthen the bioeconomy in the region, as well as opening up new opportunities for research and innovation in the region. Focus should be on wide cooperation with existing networks and infrastructures as well as representatives of the proposed Nordic Bioeconomy panel, other national European Bioeconomy panels and the European Bioeconomy panel. Current forums such as NORA and the Arctic Circle have a good infrastructure and could be used to raise the topic of bioeconomy with theme specific meetings. A key action would be to establish stakeholder platforms, complementing the advisory activities of the West Nordic Bioeconomy panel, to discuss industrial opportunities, infrastructure and support system to enhance value creation from bioresources as well as to discuss the balance between use and protection of bioresources and how to secure biodiversity.

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