About the statistics
Name and topic
Name: Waste accounts
Topic: Nature and the environment
Division for Energy, Environmental and Transport Statistics
Definitions of the main concepts and variables
Biogas production is the production of any gas fuel derived from the decay of organic matter, as the mixture of methane and carbon dioxide produced by the bacterial decomposition of sewage, manure, garbage, or plant crops. Biogas production is regarded as recovery.
A substance or object, resulting from a production process, the primary aim of which is not the production of that item, may be regarded as not being Waste, but as being a by-product only if the following conditions are met:
further use of the substance or object is certain;
the substance or object can be used directly without any further processing other than normal industrial practice;
the substance or object is produced as an integral part of a production process; and
further use is lawful, i.e. the substance or object fulfils all relevant product, environmental and health protection requirements for the specific use and will not lead to overall adverse environmental or human health impacts.
Composting is biologically aerobic treatment by micro-organisms etc. with access to oxygen. Composting is regarded as recovery.
Construction waste is generated in connection with construction, rehabilitation or demolition of buildings or other constructions.
Consumer waste is waste generated by households. Also similar waste originating from certain industries is included here.
Disposal means all treatment not defined as recovery, principally incineration and landfilling.
Energy recovery means utilising the energy released by incineration, for instance for heating up buildings, and is calculated as the share of utilised energy to the share of produced energy.
Hazardous waste requires special treatment according to the Waste regulation, and is defined in the EU List of Waste (LoW) and Norwegian legislation defining limits for hazardous properties. Hazardous waste contains a large number of different materials and products, but constitutes one material category in the waste accounts.
Landfill means disposal of waste to approved landfill.
Material denotes substances that largely share the same chemical and physical characteristics. The material categories follow the Norwegian Standard for classification of waste (NS 9431).
Mixed waste is waste that is not subjected to any presorting or from where some categories has been sorted out (plastics, paper etc.).
Pre-treatment comprise the different processes that prepare waste for subsequent treatment/disposal, for example by sorting of waste or neutralising of acids and bases.
Products are in these statistics grouped according to the function of the final product, contrary to material types, which have been grouped according to their physical and chemical characteristics. Products are further grouped into product types. Insofar, the waste accounts are not presented in terms of product types.
Production waste is defined as waste generated by manufacturing, significantly differing in type or quantity from consumer waste.
Recovery is a collective term for recycling, energy recovery and composting.
Reuse covers the use of waste in its original form, for example discarded clothes sold in a second hand shop or sent as refugee aid, or bottles in a return scheme with deposit. When a product is reused, it does not become a waste. On the other hand, preparing for re-use (like repairing a bicycle) is a recovery operation. Used products inside a return scheme are not included in the statistics.
Secondary waste is treatment products and residues from waste treatment.
Sludge is a fluid mixture of particles and water. The particles may be both organic and inorganic. The effects of inorganic and organic sludge on the environment differ considerably. Sludge is generated from important processes like: manufacturing of paper and cardboard, oil drilling, metal processes and waste water treatment. Sludge from waste water treatment is given in dry weight, while sludge from other sources are in wet weight.
Source refers to the unit generating the waste, and follows the Standard Industrial Classification (SN 2007). Various grouping levels are used, for instance manufacturing (section) and service industries (several sections). Households constitute a separate category.
Textiles are spun, woven, knitted, etc. products made from natural or synthetic fibres. Animal or artificial skin is also covered under textiles.
Treatment of waste means physically, chemically or biological processing and preparation of the waste for recovery or disposal (recycle, compost, incinerate, landfill, dumping, export or reuse) at approved plants.
Waste is defined by the Pollution Control Act §27 as: "Discarded objects or substances. Waste also includes superfluous objects from service activities, production and treatment plants etc. Waste water and exhaust gases are not regarded as waste". See also 3.1.
Waste treatment plant is assigned to all plants having treatment/disposal or pre-treatment of waste as their principal activity. Industrial landfills and incinerators having waste as a secondary fuel, for instance in the manufacturing industries, are not defined as treatment plants.
Wet organic waste is organic waste that easily decomposes, like discarded food and processing waste from the manufacturing of food products, etc. The waste codes (Norwegian standard for classification of waste (NS 9431)) that are included here are 1111, 1127 and 1128.
Standard Industrial Classification (SN 2007) is applied for classification by source from 2008. In 2007 and backwards SN2002 is applied. The classification by material and treatment/disposal is based on the Norwegian standard for classification of waste (NS 9431).
The aggregation of the classification used in the waste accounts is given in table 3.
Table 3: Aggregation of Norwegian standard for classification of waste (NS 9431) used in the waste acounts for Norway
1111, 1127, 1128
Park and garden waste
1141, 1142, 1143, 1149
1211, 1221, 1231, 1241, 1251, 1299
Paper and cardboard
1311, 1312, 1321, 1322, 1331, 1341, 1351, 1399
1411, 1447, 1451, 1452, 1499
1501, 1502, 1503, 1504, 1505, 1506, 1507, 1508, 1509, 1510, 1512, 1518, 1519, 1520, 1599
1611, 1612, 1613, 1614
Concrete and tiles
Cinders, dust bottom ash and fly ash
1711, 1712, 1713, 1721, 1722, 1723, 1729, 1731, 1732, 1741, 1751, 1752, 1799
1811, 1812, 1813, 1814, 1899
2411, 2421, 2441
All codes starting with 7
1600, 1615, 1617, 1618, 1619, 1621, 1672, 1699, 1912, 2200, 2211, 2221, 2299, 2300, 2311, 2431, 6000, 6003, 6004, 6101
9900, 9911, 9912, 9913, 9914, 9915, 9916, 9917, 9918
1603, 1604, 1605,1606
Slightly polluted soil
Frequency and timeliness
Waste Account for Norway is data source for reporting waste statistics to Eurostat pursuant to Regulation on waste statistics (No 2150/2002).
Micro data, calculations and revised years for the different waste statistics are archived at Linux. Sub-calculations and finished calculations for the waste accounts are stored as SAS and/or- Excel-files.
Background and purpose
The main purpose with Waste Accounts is to present a holistic overview of the waste situation in Norway. Waste streams are quantified based on three different characteristics: material type, source of origin and treatment.
The work with the waste accounts started in 1995. The first results for paper and glass were published in 1997. Until 2011 the waste accounts showed data for paper, glass, wetorganic waste, metalls, wood, plastics, sludge, other materials and hazardous waste.
From the 2012 publications and forward the waste accounts has been revised and new materials have been included. The waste accounts now publish data for wetorganic waste, park and garden waste, wood, sludge, paper, glass, metals, WEEE, concrete and tiles, cinders, dust, bottom ash and fly ash, plastics, rubber, textiles, discarded vehicles, hazardous waste, mixed waste, other materials and slightly polluted soil.
Users and applications
The Norwegian Environment Agency makes use of the figures in their reports to the Parliament. The figures also constitute the main data source on waste statistics presented to Eurostat and OECD. Moreover, the statistics are also applied as part in the Norwegian Emission Inventory, the integrated Economic and Environmental Accounts (NAMEA) and sustainable development indicators, thereby representing a relevant foundation for resource and environmental studies. The waste account is also used by industrial and nongovernmental organisations, education and research institutes and the media.
Equal treatment of users
Coherence with other statistics
The Waste Account depends on an array of statistics for its calculations. Simultaneously, the Waste Account forms the basis of analyses and comparisons with other statistics, both internally in Statistics Norway and within external institutions.
Principally, the Waste Account is now included in the following statistics:
- Other waste statistics. For instance, the Manufacturing waste survey and the Waste treatment and disposal survey are forming parts of the hazardous waste statistics.
- Discharge of methane from landfills.
- Air pollution and energy accounts (figures on waste incineration).
- NAMEA (Norwegian Economic and Environmental Accounts).
- Fees and full costs statistics in the municipal waste sector.
It is considered using waste statistics in the set of sustainable development indicators.
A long-term goal is to make the waste account more integrated into a comprehensive system of environmental and socio-economic statistics. Waste amounts can then be seen in context with environmental effects from discharge to air and water, transport and logistic, employment and withdrawal of natural resources, together with environmental consequences by production and use of commodities.
The Waste Accounts require no separate data collection authorized by the Statistics Act, but build on other statistics were the Statistics Act is applied. See also "About the statistics" for the other waste statistics from Statistics Norway.
Regulation on waste statistics (No 2150/2002) requires detailed reporting on the different materials, sources and treatment/disposal methods of waste in Norway.
The Waste Accounts statistics comprise all waste as defined in Pollution Control Act §27 but with the following exceptions:
- Clean masses of stones, gravels and soil.
- Other materials, which readily may be brought back into the natural cycle of the ecosystems.
- Internally recycled production residues.
- Used products covered by recycling systems, for instance the bottle deposit scheme.
- Infectious, explosive and radioactive wastes.
- Secondary waste, except incineration residues.
Slightly contaminated soil and stones (non-hazardous) are covered, but generally excluded from the totals.
The statistics encompass hazardous waste as defined in Waste regulation §11.4. Certain estimates are also made from other selected groups of health- and environmentally dangerous waste.
The waste statistics use Statistic Norway's statistics on foreign trade. The geographical extent is the same for that statistic.
Data sources and sampling
Waste account makes use of an array of different statistics/data sources. The most important ones are listed in table 1. For an overview of all sources, please refer to the publications connected with these.
Table 1. Main data sources in the waste accounts.
Sources for waste account calculations
Household waste statistics (Statistics Norway)
Manufacturing industry statistics (Statistics Norway)
Hazardous waste statistics (Statistics Norway)
Construction waste statistics (Statistics Norway)
Waste from service industries (Statistics Norway)
Waste treatment and disposal statistics (Statistics Norway)
Household waste composition data (Statistics Norway)
Building and construction statistics (Statistics Norway)
Statistics on cars scrapped for deposit (Statistics Norway)
Municipal wastewater statistics (Statistics Norway)
Statistics on recycling on different types of waste by producers responsibility organisations and the recycling industry
Forurensning (database for the businesses' self-reporting to the Norwegian Environment Agency)
Oljeindustriens landforening, OLF WEEE-registry (ee-registeret, A registry on collected and treated electric and electronic Equipment. Owned by the Norwegian Environment Agency)
Collection of data, editing and estimations
One of the main intentions with waste accounts is to build upon already existing data sources, like register data and statistics.
However it is still beeing collected some data from the recovery industry, This is numbers for treatment of special material fractions and types (for instance plastic packaging, WEEE and more). This extra numbers is used in the calculations of treatment numbers for the different material types. We also hope in the future to be able to have separate surveys for the sectors where we now have old and somewhat lacking data, but where we now have not been able to collect data because we assume that the numbers are quite small. This is true for some of the materials from the sectors A, D and E.
In the data collection for the statistics on waste from the service industry , customer registers from several waste handlers are collected. These registers contain among other data treatment and waste amounts data. This treatment data is used together with other sources for the treatment to calculate treatment for all the material types.
The different waste statistics of Statistics Norway making part of the waste account use different methods of data collection. Samples and methods of data collections of waste accounts are presented in table 2. For the remaining statistics and sources, please refer to other publications.
Table 2. Samples and data collection in the waste statistics forming the micro data of the waste accounts.
Sampling and data collection
Legal document for data collection
Household waste is based on a full scale survey in KOSTRA, covering all municipal- and inter-municipal waste companies.
Same as KOSTRA.
The Pollution Control Act is applied for plants/installations not covered by Kostra. The Statistics Act is used for statistic production purposes.
Waste from manufacturing industries
The manufacturing waste survey is a questionnaire survey based on a stratified sample of around 1600 Norwegian manufacturing industry establishments. In 1993, mining, quarrying and construction businesses were included in the survey. In 2003, quarrying and mining was included. Last full scale survay was for 20015. From 2012 it is calculated a change in the numbers reported by the industry itself to the Norwegian Environment agency between 2015 and the year to be estimated. This calculated change is used on the numbers from the last Statistic Norway survey.
The Statistics Act
The statistics on hazardous waste going to approved treatment, is based on three different registers: The declaration database "avfallsdeklarering.no, owned by the Norwegian Environment Agency; administered by AS; Forurensning (database containing self-reporting data from the manufacturing industries to Norwegian Environment Agency); and the import/export database, both administered by Norwegian Environment Agency. In addition, a full scale survey is carried out in cooperation with Norwegian Environment Agency in order to better cover hazardous waste not registered in the three registers, but still treated in Norway, and to allocate hazardous waste to treatment method.
The Statistics Act
Construction and demolition waste
Statistics on construction and demolition waste is based upon Built area statistics, Building and construction statistics, the GAB register (covering all existing, newly built or demolished buildings since 1983), empirical factors on generated waste per square metre built, recovered and demolished area, and the Waste treatment and disposal survey.
Planning and Building Act and Statistics Act.
Waste from service industries
Based on customer registers from a sample of waste collectors.
The Statistics Act.
Revision carried out in connection with waste accounts may be divided into two steps:
- Revision of the different basic statistics
- Revision in connection with the compilation of the account
1. Revision of the basic statistics: The possibility for revision of basic statistics varies depending on the data collection methods in use. It also depends on which institution being responsible for the data collection. The statistics on household waste, industrial waste, waste handling and hazardous waste treatment is revised mainly through the following techniques:
- Automatic controls in the electronic forms, for example numerical limits and logical controls.
- Comparison with previous reported figures for municipalities and enterprises.
- Comparison with country average and comparable municipalities and enterprises.
- Collection of missing/insufficient information.
- Direct contact with municipalities/enterprises regarding errors or cases of doubt, which cannot readily be corrected internally in Statistics Norway.
Several revision controls are carried out automatically by computer-based applications.
The micro data concerning the service industries are based on customer registers from waste collectors. Revision of these includes identifying the establishments and connecting them to the Business register, and calculating the amount of waste per employee for each establishment as a basis for identifying outliers. No corrections are made in the micro data, but some industries delivering other establishments’ waste (transport, real estate activities, etc.) are excluded from the survey.
External sources are checked for errors or shortcomings in the following way:
- Units and values are checked against previous reference years of the same data source.
- Register units are checked automatically and manually against the Business register in Statistics Norway.
- Reported values are checked against values normally to be expected.
- Reported values are compared to values of comparable units for example assessed by size of enterprises (number of employees or turnover).
Corrections are made in copies of original fils or separat correction files. Moreover, information originating directly from other statistical sources is covered by revision routines performed by the unit responsible for the statistics or data.
2. Revision in connection with the compilation of the waste accounts: Compilation of the different basic statistics, summed up into one single account, may reveal inconsistencies in any of the underlying statistics. In addition, shortcomings in the account, not covered by the available basic statistics, must also be incorporated. This applies to both specific years and parts of the account.
These tasks are mainly carried out by the following techniques: * By returning back to the original information source, deviations of values in different substatistics can be checked again. Then, the most credible value is chosen.
- Incomplete time series and deficiencies are interpolated. Alternatively, using for example gross product (value added), production value (output) or number of employees as an auxiliary variable, deficiencies may be amended.
- Time series are extended by extrapolation using an auxiliary variable.
Similar techniques are utilized also in the compilation of the different waste statistics. For further details, please refer to the associated publications.
In compiling the waste accounts, all available waste statistics and other statistics, factors, etc. that may derive to waste statistics are collected and compiled. Please refer to the different waste statistics for further details.
The figures are aggregated prior to release, and follow SSB's rules for confidentiality.
Comparability over time and space
This version of the about statistics is valid from year 2012. For versions describing the methodology used prior to 2012, go via an earlier publication.
One of the goals with the waste accounts is to follow the waste amounts over time. Therefore, it has been emphasized to make the account comparable in time. Therefore, until the year 2010, all reference years were revised when the waste accounts were updated. This is not happening anymore. There are several reasons for this, one is a great change in methodology from year 2012 and another is that many sources for the statistics do not have numbers for earlier years.
From the publication in 2012, the waste types are also different and many more than before and mixed waste is no longer separated onto its different material types. By including more material types like park and garden waste, mixed waste, WEEE, discarded vehicles and cinders, dust, bottom ash and fly ash, the waste amounts on many of the other categories are smaller than before.
Comparison of waste statistics in different countries may be problematic, because of dissimilar set of definitions etc. This applies especially to waste totals, depending on what's been included in the different countries. The same applies to waste divided into different sources. The semi-annual reporting to Eurostat, pursuant to Regulation No 2150/2002 on waste statistics, is believed to have improved this situation. A detailed description of this reporting is to be given in a comprehensive quality report, which is also reported.
Sources of error and uncertainty
Data sources in the Waste account include both data based on reported information from businesses, enterprises or households, and data from registers. In addition, standard factors from selected studies have also been employed. A comprehensive description of errors and uncertainties of the different waste statistics entering the Waste Accounts is given in report 98/3, 2000/8, 2000/12, 2000/15, 2001/38, note 99/10 and NOS C625.
In the waste accounts, estimates are required in parts with originally inadequate data. In these cases, the figures are generated either from residual calculations (difference between known quantities) or imputation of numbers based on different estimation techniques. In such cases, uncertainty can exceed that found in the individual sources. For the year 2012 and forward, this is valid especially for waste from the sources A, D and E and also B. Here the numbers are either estimated or lacking some sources. That is true for instance for plastics from the fisheries and from the source B, the mining and quarrying industry, where the numbers mainly are from the quarrying industry. The waste amounts from these sources are rather small compared to the totals and therefore it has not been prioritized to collect more data.
Numbers for the manufacturing industry are also considered to be somewhat uncertain. The last big survey was done by Statistics Norway in 2015. The numbers for the years 2012-2014 and 2016 are therefor calculated based on those businesses that have to report waste numbers to the Norwegian Envoronment Agency. These numbers together with changes in turnover are used to calculate a change in numbers between 2008 and this year. This change is applied to the 2015 Statistics Norway numbers. We see that the numbers from the businesses own reporting to the Norwegian Envoronment Agancy are of very variable quality. Some waste fractions are missing and others are wrong. Before using the numbers it has therefore been carried out both a manual and an automatic revision of the numbers.
The external trade statistics (ETS) build on custom registrations, covering all import and export except shipments below the threshold value of 1,000 NOK. We believe that this source of error is unsignificant in the waste account. However, the threshold value would lead to incomplete estimations of transboundary movement of waste based on the ETS could for several waste streams.
It is hard to quantify uncertainty of the waste account as a whole, mainly because the uncertainties of the different subaccounts differ markedly. The account is structured in a way that allows the relatively uncertain parts to be separated from the more certain ones. Thus, it is possible to take uncertainty into account by using either subtotals or totals.