Biological Waste Treatment in Norway and Sweden: What works well and what can be improved?

A synthesis of the nine projects in BUS

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A Swedish-Norwegian project for the follow-up and evaluation of large-scale systems for composting and digestion of source separated biological waste was carried out during 2002–2004, financed by The Swedish Association of Waste Management (RVF) together with several other Swedish and Norwegian organisations. The project was entitled BUS (Biological waste treatment – evaluation of systems).BUS consisted of 10 individual projects carried out by different project leaders. Each of the projects has been presented in a report, published in Swedish in the form of a RVF report, Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (NV) report and/or a STEM report. The last individual project consisted of a synthesis of the whole BUS, with the objective to make a collation of the other individual projects within BUS thus providing an overall summary of the projects and presentation of general conclusions. Synthesis is here taken to mean a focus on information and conclusions that cannot be drawn from the individual projects, but that instead have to be based on the results of a combination of several projects. This report contains an English translation of the BUS-synthesis, prepared for The Nordic Council of Ministers’ group on organic waste, within the working group on Products and Waste (The PA-group), with the objective to make the conclusions from BUS available to a broader target group.




Since the 1970s there has been a movement in Sweden towards the development of a waste management system with an increased utilisation of the waste. The development has been characterised both by successes and failures. Among the successes, the decrease of the quantity of waste landfilled without prior treatment can be noted. Failures are largely connected to new technology not working in a satisfactory manner. The government has used various regulations to develop the waste management sector. From the beginning of the 1970s, the main types of regulation used were economic subsidies to treatment plants and permit demands based on environmental legislation. Successively new regulatory tools have been developed such as producer responsibility, waste taxes and the prohibition of landfilling unsorted burnable waste and organic waste. The implementation of the EU-directives on the landfilling of waste (2001:512) and the ordinance on landfilling of waste (2002:1060) has also had impact on this development. The Swedish Parliament has in the national environmental objectives decreed that 35% of food waste shall be treated biologically starting from year 2010.


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