The Norwegian Government steps up the efforts to turn waste into resources and reduce marine litter

The Norwegian government presented a White Paper to Parliament on 21 June 2017 on waste policies in a circular economy with an emphasis on increasing reuse and recycling. The White Paper also presents a Plastic Strategy in order to reduce marine litter.

– Waste is no longer first and foremost a problem – it is also a resource.  Almost everything we consider as waste can be reused or recovered. Recycling and measures to reduce waste are important elements in our waste policies, said Minister for Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen.

Measures to combat marine litter

Marine litter and pollution from microplastics are growing environmental problems that require efforts on a local, national and global level. The decomposition of plastic waste in the ocean is the largest source of microplastics. Measures to reduce marine litter are therefore of high importance to reduce microplastics in the environment. The Norwegian Government also intends to reduce emissions of microplastics from key land-based sources in Norway and strengthen the clean-up efforts of plastics from along the Norwegian coastline.

The Norwegian Government recently decided to establish a National Centre in Lofoten/Vesterålen that will hold a central role in the clean-up effort.

The Government will also introduce a  grant scheme for local authorities that want to implement measures to reduce marine litter and microplastics.

– Local authorities are key players in carrying out measures against marine litter and microplastics. I am pleased to announce that the Government will introduce this grant scheme, said Helgesen.

The White Paper also outlines Norway's strategy to strengthen international commitment to combat marine litter through cooperation in the Nordic region, the EU, other regional fora and through the UN. The Plastic Strategy will be translated into English. 

More efficient use of resources

Efficient use of resources is at the core of a well-functioning strong economy. In order to maximize the use of resources in our waste, it is necessary to facilitate prevention, reuse and recycling.

We can facilitate the reduction of waste and increased reuse in many different ways. The recent agreement with the food industry on reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030 is one example. The Government also wants to collaborate with the textile industry and others to increase the reuse of textiles, Helgesen said.

In order to achieve higher levels of recycling, the Government will consider introducing a requirement to sort and recycle plastic waste and food waste. More efficient use of resources is an important part of the green transition.

– We will consider introducing a requirement to sort and recycle different types of plastic and food waste from households, as well as similar waste from the private sector in all municipalities in Norway, said Vidar Helgesen.