Integrated Economic and Environmental Assessment of Waste Policy Instruments

Over the years, a mix of policy measures has been applied in order to shift waste management in a more sustainable direction. Modern Swedish waste legislation dates from 1975, when a bill was passed stating that waste is a resource that should be utilized and those who generate waste are responsible for it. Since then, policy has been used mainly to incite a transition from landfilling to recovery of material and energy resources. The aim of this paper is to describe the modelling approach and to identify and discuss its strengths and limitations.


The need for new policy instruments supporting the on-going transition from end-of-pipe waste treatment to resource management has been recognized in European policy. Instruments need to be carefully assessed before implementation to promote the desired changes and avoid problem shifting. Mathematical models may assist policy makers in such assessments. This paper presents a set of soft-linked models for assessing the economic and environmental impacts of policy instruments for both the prevention and management of waste and discusses its strengths and limitations.

Consisting of a macro-economic model, a systems engineering model for waste management and a life cycle assessment model for waste management, the set is primarily suited to assessing market-based instruments and environmental regulations. Considerable resources were needed for developing and using the set, and there are clear limits as to what can be addressed. However, if only one of the models had been used, neither the range of instruments nor the scope of impacts would have been possible to cover. Furthermore, soft-linked models allow many disciplines to contribute within one harmonized framework. Such integrated assessments may become increasingly useful for continuing the implementation of policy for sustainable governance of society’s material resources.

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Medarbetare: Jan-Olov Sundqvist

Typ: Artikel i refereegranskad tidskrift

År: 2016

Rapportnummer: A2242

Författare: Maria Ljunggren Söderman, Tomas Ekvall, Jan-Olov Sundqvist, Eriksson O, Björklund A, Östblom G, Finnveden G, Arushanyan Y

Publicerad i: Sustainability 8(5): 411ff