Norway has the highest end-of-life boat collection rate in Europe
Collection of ELB (end-of-life-boats) with barge in the Oslofjord (Photo: Kretsløpet/Johs. Bjørndal)
A survey of European solutions for collecting and recycling discarded leisure boats shows that the Norwegian model is at the forefront when it comes to collecting decommissioned leisure boats.

In a survey conducted on behalf of the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, Norwaste, in collaboration with the Finnish company Macon OY, has compared schemes aimed at increasing the collection and recycling of discarded leisure boats(link to publication).In most countries, the responsibility for this task lies with the owner of the waste, i.e. the boat owner. The problem, which is also well-known in Norway, is that the cost of transporting the boat to an approved waste collection point and possibly paying for the waste management is partly significant, especially for larger boats. Over a long period, this has led to boats being abandoned or being dumped at sea, a problem that is known all over Europe.

In Norway, a set of measures was established in 2017 to increase the collection of ELB. Boat owners can deliver boats up to 15 feet free of charge to the municipality's recycling station, while larger boats must be delivered to approved boat collection centres. In addition, the state, through the Norwegian Environment Agency, gives support to boat owners with NOK 1,000 for delivering to an approved reception (municipal recycling station or approved waste collection). Municipalities and approved waste collection centres receive governmental support per tonne of waste treated. On top of this, Handelens Miljøfond has since 2018 financed a project for the collection of boats with a total of NOK 23 million as of 2022.

The table below provides an overview of rights and obligations in the Norwegian system: 

Table: Rights and obligations in the Norwegian ELB collection and waste management scheme.
Solutions in Sweden and France

The scheme in Norway is thus a combination of legal requirements (free reception of smaller boats) and financial support, supplemented by support from private businesses. In Sweden, the Havs och Vattenmyndigheten tendered funding for a national network of boat collectors in recent years. The task has been carried out by Båtretur, a consortium consisting of Båtskroten, Stena Recycling and SweBoat. In the period 2018-mid 2023 SEK 20.8 million has been spent to handle 2,615 boats at the network's 30 collection centers. The support given to Båtretur is limited to waste management and does not cover the cost of transport to the collection centres.

France is the country that has introduced an ordinarily extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme. The scheme means that manufacturers (importers and domestic boat manufacturers) are legally responsible for the costs when the leisure boats are disposed of (become waste). The scheme allows for a shared financing responsibility for waste management costs. In 2023, the EPR scheme financed 60 per cent of the waste management costs, while 40 per cent was financed by the boat owner through an annual boat register, which the boat owner is required to participate in. The administration of the scheme is handled by the producer responsibility company APER, which makes agreements with facilities for waste management of discarded leisure boats.


A comparison of how much the schemes in the three countries have contributed to collecting and handling the waste from end-of-life leisure boats (ELB) shows that the scheme in Norway has led to by far the highest proportion of boats being collected, with over 10,000 boats, corresponding to approx. 1% of the total number of registered leisure boats. In France, corresponding figures show approx. 0.3 per cent annual collection, while in Sweden just under 0.1 per cent of total registered boats were collected in 2022.

Table: Yearly ELB collection rate in selected countries 2022