The transition to a circular economy is changing the transportation needs for waste and secondary raw materials. Are Norwegian municipalities prepared for this change?

Prosjektet «Kysttransport 3 – Sirkulære verdikjeder,» som har vært støttet av Klimasats, er en oppfølging av tidligere prosjekter initiert av Oslo Havn (Kysttransport 1 og 2). Målet med dette prosjektet har vært å styrke samarbeidet mellom havner og avfallsbesittere og utforske mulighetene for sjøbasert logistikk, med sikte på å redusere klimautslipp og øke materialgjenvinning av avfall. 

 In the project, development trends have been examined for five waste fractions: wood (clean and treated), gypsum, plastic waste, organic waste, and residual waste for incineration. All of these waste types are expected to be influenced by new regulations. Additionally, the project has highlighted these changes and illuminated the potential through three case studies in Oslo, Harstad, and Vadsø.

New requirements for source sorting and material recycling are altering the material flows for waste. The amount of residual waste for incineration from households and service industries is expected to decrease by 613,000 tons annually by 2035. The volume is shifting from residual waste to other waste types, impacting transportation needs. While residual waste primarily travels by road to incineration facilities in Norway and Sweden, waste for material recycling will go to different destinations. There may be a need for more transshipment and longer interim storage of waste, affecting the space requirements in Norwegian municipalities in the future.

The role of coastal transport and ports as a prerequisite for the transition to a more circular economy must be strengthened and better communicated. As this report highlights, maritime transport can significantly reduce CO2 emissions from waste transportation. The municipality plays a unique role as both a waste owner and a port owner in addressing local needs. For medium-sized and smaller municipalities, collaboration on logistics and shared waste hubs can simplify and be cost-effective for waste management. Shared hubs can ensure larger loads, better utilization of return transport, and energy-efficient transportation. Rødskjær Business Park and Port in Harstad municipality are a good example of such development, where several major waste operators in Northern Norway have established themselves in the area.

Norwegian municipalities need increased expertise on how the circular economy is changing transportation needs and how municipalities can use their planning authority. There is an identified need for a national guide for municipalities that takes into account the spatial requirements and flexibility necessary in the transition to a circular economy. Additionally, there is a need for better and more accessible statistics with indicators for logistics, transportation, and areas designated for waste management purposes. Therefore, a key message of the project is the necessity to develop new statistics for the circular economy, and statistics for the import and export of green-listed waste and reportable waste must be coordinated.

In the project, participants have included representatives from Hålogaland Ressursselskap, Harstad Port, Waste and Recycling Agency in Oslo, Oslo Port, Vadsø Municipality, Vadsø Port, Waste and Resources, and Norwegian Ports (Samfunns-bedriftene), Waste Norway, and Coastal Shipping Companies. Additionally, the project has coordinated with Narvik Port's project "Circular Port Initiative."

The report is available for download here.