Policy instruments towards a sustainable waste management
Journal article, 2013
The aim of this paper is to suggest and discuss policy instruments that could lead towards a more sustainable waste management. The paper is based on evaluations from a large scale multi-disciplinary Swedish research program. The evaluations focus on environmental and economic impacts as well as social acceptance. The focus is on the Swedish waste management system but the results should be relevant also for other countries. Through the assessments and lessons learned during the research program we conclude that several policy instruments can be effective and possible to implement. Particularly, we put forward the following policy instruments: "Information"; "Compulsory recycling of recyclable materials"; "Weight-based waste fee in combination with information and developed recycling systems"; "Mandatory labeling of products containing hazardous chemicals", "Advertisements on request only and other waste minimization measures"; and "Differentiated VAT and subsidies for some services". Compulsory recycling of recyclable materials is the policy instrument that has the largest potential for decreasing the environmental impacts with the configurations studied here. The effects of the other policy instruments studied may be more limited and they typically need to be implemented in combination in order to have more significant impacts. Furthermore, policy makers need to take into account market and international aspects when implementing new instruments. In the more long term perspective, the above set of policy instruments may also need to be complemented with more transformational policy instruments that can significantly decrease the generation of waste.