1.53 million tonnes of hazardous waste
A total of 1.53 million tonnes of hazardous waste was sent for approved treatment in 2017 – an increase of around 4 per cent compared to the year before.
In a broader perspective, the waste amounts have increased by 90 per cent since 2003, , according to updated figures from Hazardous waste. This therefore adds to the trend of the last couple of years in which hazardous waste in society is steadily increasing and showing no signs of slowing down.
In contrast, the gross domestic product (GDP) and population have only increased by 26 and 16 per cent respectively in the same period. Thus, the general trend is that hazardous waste sent for approved treatment is relatively high compared to the growth in the economy and population in general.
Figure 1. Trends in hazardous waste sent to approved treatment, gross domestic product (GDP) and population
|GDP (market value, fixed prices)||1.00||1.04||1.07||1.09||1.13||1.13||1.11||1.12||1.13||1.16||1.17||1.20||1.22||1.23||1.26|
12.5 kg hazardous waste per person
It has been estimated that households accounted for around 66 000 tonnes of hazardous waste sent for approved treatment in 2016 (based on declarations of hazardous waste). On average, this constitutes around 12.5 kg per person. Impregnated wood, paint residues, glue, lacquer and waste oil constitute the main components.
Manufacturing industries sent 670 000 tonnes of hazardous waste for approved treatment in 2017, including treatment in their own facilities. This makes up around 44 per cent of all hazardous waste in Norway for that year. Another main contributor – with almost 270 000 tonnes – is the mining and quarrying industry, which includes oil extraction activities.
1 Economic activite actually refers to the party which declares the hazardous waste to the excecutive authorities
Figure 2. Hazardous waste sent to approved facilities 1999-2017, by economic activity¹
|Wastewater and waste management operations||12||12||16||14||51||57||53||55||71||65||81||76||69||74||78||82||74||175||180|
|Energy and water supply||3||3||8||17||21||22||31||33||34||39||40||32||34||27||39||35||31||43||32|
|Mining and quarrying||81||87||85||118||83||115||130||143||149||131||174||298||354||461||371||344||360||381||272|
36 per cent to recovery
Around 36 per cent of the approved waste treatment was recovered, i.e. either material recycled (19 per cent) or energy recovered (17 per cent). The remaining 64 per cent was disposed of.
Hazardous waste exports are included in the 1.53 million tonnes sent for approved treatment, but imported amounts are not. Thus, the figures on approved treatment comprise only hazardous waste generated in Norway.
Unknown treatment on its way down
Hazardous waste contains substances that are hazardous both to health and the environment. Thus, it is important to ensure that as much as possible of the hazardous waste is subject to proper treatment in order to avoid harming people’s health and the environment.
In addition to the 1.53 million tonnes sent for approved treatment, estimates are also made of the amount of hazardous waste sent for unknown treatment. This amount has been estimated at around 13 000 tonnes in 2017. Consequently, out of the estimated total amount generated, 99 per cent is believed to be sent for approved treatment, while the remaining 1 per cent is sent for unknown treatment and considered beyond ‘governmental control’.
Import of hazardous waste increased 29 per cent
Exports of hazardous waste showed a steady increase up until 2014, followed by decreases in 2015 and 2016, and then increasing again in 2017. In 2017, the export amounted to around 290 000 tonnes – an increase of 17 per cent.
Simultaneously, Norway imported circa 400 000 tonnes of hazardous waste from abroad; up 29 per cent compared to the year before.
It should also be noted that both imports and exports fluctuate considerably from one year to another. These fluctuations are partly determined by the prices in the waste market to which the imports and exports belong.
Imports are dominated by waste containing heavy metals destined for landfill in Norway, and also some waste oil for incineration. Exports, on the other hand, are mainly made up of various types of oil-containing hazardous waste and heavy metal-containing waste.
Imports and exports of hazardous waste require approval from the authorities in order to ensure proper treatment in the receiving country.
Heavy metal and oil-containing waste dominate
In 2017, heavy metal-containing waste was the dominant category of hazardous waste, with around 510 000 tonnes sent for approved treatment. The next biggest group was oil-containing waste, constituting around 500 000 tonnes.
Oil-containing waste mostly encompasses waste from oil drilling activities on the Norwegian shelf, while heavy metal-containing waste consists of metal hydroxyl sludge, slag, dust and ashes from the manufacturing industry, as well as inorganic salts (including other solid materials), used sand from grit blasting and CCA-impregnated wood.
1 For 2003 to 2017, waste undergoing consecutive treatment operations at different facilities is counted only once.
Figure 4. Hazardous waste sent to approved treatment 1999-2017, by material¹
|Other hazardous waste||Corrosive waste||Waste containing heavy metals, polluted matter||Waste containing oil|
Increase in hazardous waste from Svalbard
The amount of hazardous waste from Svalbard commonly varies from year to year. In recent years, between 100 and 300 tonnes of hazardous waste have been sent annually for approved treatment.
In 2017, the amount originating from Svalbard was 160 tonnes, an increase of 14 per cent compared to the year before. Oil-containing waste constituted 70 per cent of all hazardous waste from Svalbard.
Hazardous waste produced in Longyearbyen, Svea and New-Ålesund is transported to the Norwegian mainland for treatment there.