Products in household waste

An exploratory study in the Nordic Countries

image of Products in household waste

The generation of household waste is increasing at least as fast as consumption. More and more products are produced, bought, consumed and discarded. The question is where do all these products end up? The aim of the study was to evaluate if, and how, existing statistics and data could be used to describe the waste flow composition on a product level and how (necessary) additional information could be collected. The study focuses on utility products which are discarded in a similar shape as purchased or as part of thereof. Typical examples are electrical and electronic equipment, furniture etc. The report gives a review of existing Nordic information, including statistics and pick analyses, together with results of consultations with experts. The main conclusions are that there is a need for better methods of waste analysis and more knowledge about waste flows. The report gives also some recommendations to policymakers.




Despite the proclamations of our countries’ commitment to sustainable development during the last decades, we witness an increasing amount of waste being generated in the Nordic countries, as well as in the rest of Europe and beyond. The data figures may vary and there could be a number of causes. In addition, the accuracy of measurements and data is not clear. The trend of increasing waste amounts is, however, a commonly accepted fact. There is also an even more significant increase in the consumption of products of various kinds, as illustrated by the example in Figure 1, the index of Norwegian consumption and waste generation for the period 1996–2005.


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