In an agreement between the social democrats, the green Party, the Centre party and the Liberals, which is the basis for the government, included a proposal for a tax on the incineration of waste. The proposal is based on the government's investigation ”Scorching income taxes” (SOU 2017:83). The background to the inquiry is that the development in the field of waste going in the wrong direction. In Sweden reduces the recycling of household waste, while the amount of waste increases. It is clear from the environmental protection agency's national waste management plan. We find it difficult to reach the goal of a circular economy that we ourselves, the EUROPEAN union and the united nations has set up. For example, the Swedish milestone target for increased sorting of food waste for composting and anaerobic digestion, the EU's goal of increased recycling and the UN's goal of cutting waste.
instead, the combustion of waste has increased very quickly. The investigation shows that incineration of waste has increased from 6.2 million tonnes per year in 2010 to 7.5 million tonnes perår 2014. An increased energy recovery of waste have created greater environmental benefits so long as it contributed to reduce the waste added to landfills. Combustion will also for a long time in the future be necessary for the waste that it is not desirable for recycling. However, according to the national waste management plan there is potential to increase the recycling of materials. The analyses show for example that more than 60 per cent of waste from households as of the day goes to the incineration of waste, could be recycled. The largest share of this consists of food waste.
When a plant is built it will need to waste fuel for a long time ahead. According to the commission, requires a typical plant, an investment of approximately sek 2 billion. Through these miljardinvesteringar in new plants is, above all, the municipal energy companies on the road to for the foreseeable future to build fixed-Sweden in dependence on the incineration of waste. Measures are needed to reverse the trend.
The municipal energy companies are about to for the foreseeable future to build fixed-Sweden in dependence on the incineration of waste.
The municipal energy companies are doing today mångmiljonvinster on to burn the garbage instead of for example biofuels. The investigation indicates a difference of 340 krona per MWh fuel between burning biomass and waste. Energy companies have therefore, in the representation of energy companies in Sweden, has started an intensive lobbying against the tax. Energiföretagens main argument is that the government's own investigators argued that a tax would not have any controlling effect. They also claim that they do not have any opportunities to work for increased recycling and reduced waste (a”Tax on the incineration of waste is a lousy idea,” op-ed Today's Society, 18 december, 2018).
The first argument sounds sensible as long as you do not read the investigation. The investigator, who lacks experience from the field of waste management, has had a team of experts to support. The group consisted almost exclusively of those who will pay the tax. It shows. The investigation has a clearly uncaring attitude towards the incineration of waste. In the investigation mentioned, for example, is not the problem with the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of highly dioxinförorenad ash that occurs every year. An ash that must be disposed of and stored safely for all time.
the Investigator notes, however, that a tax would make it less interesting to build new facilities.
It is obvious that the investigation is not a constructive way examined how companies and municipalities would be affected in a positive direction of a tax. Tellingly, so is the environmental protection agency's expert the only one in the investigation that makes an assessment that goes against the investigator. I share the expert's conclusion that a tax is a necessary control signal to those who today are looking to build more waste incineration.
the Tax would not only be a signal. It is noteworthy to say that the municipal corporations can not affect the quantities of waste or recycling. Here I think many municipalities and companies would like to protest against the description which the trade associations provide. They would like to highlight all the excellent work they already do in order to prevent waste and increase recycling.
The municipal companies is very much a part of the work with the municipalities ' waste management plans. A tax would reward those municipalities that have adopted the sorting of food waste, compared with those who just send everything to the combustion. The tax would be of benefit to the companies as invested in recycling, in front of the which allows a container with the mixed waste go to incineration. A tax would enhance the competitiveness of the private entrepreneurs who offer business circular solutions as an alternative.
It is also obvious that the energy companies themselves, can act on the basis of a tax. Energy companies can raise the standards on wastes that can be recycled may not be included in the waste received at the facility. Companies can also reduce their tax burden by themselves försortera the waste before it is transferred to the combustion. A tax could also be the push companies need to develop new services. Perhaps it is the economic interest, which means that none of the major municipal energy companies offer advice on how companies and businesses can reduce their waste? Energy companies offer long-energispartjänster and audits. Already today, there are innovative smaller companies that offer the same thing for materials and waste.
It will be needed, increasing demands on producers to design products that are suitable for recycling. Increased efforts are also needed to induce consumers to share, rent, buy used or not buy at all. The government faces a major piece of work to modernize a traditional waste management into something that more relates to a resource-efficient material use. But as long as the incineration of waste is the cheapest method, it will continue to attract increased amounts of waste, and reward those who make an effort at least.
I hope, therefore, that not only the Greens, but also the other parties that are a part of the agreement, has the strength to stand up to the municipal energy companies to short-term profit making and introduce a tax on incineration of waste. The tax would be an instrument among several that are necessary for Sweden to continue to be a showcase in the world for a circular management of the resources.