Competition policy and waste management is an issue that has seen increased interest in the last five to ten years. There have been quite a few cases concerning different competition problems in waste management in the Nordic countries over the last few years. The OECD, the European Commission and the Nordic competition authorities have also written reports on the green economy and competition in waste management. This increased interest is, in part, driven by changes in the way people perceive waste. Waste is in many cases no longer only considered a nuisance, but also a valuable material that needs to be reused, recycled or recovered in some other way. In September 2014, a waste management workshop was held in Copenhagen at the annual meeting of the Nordic competition authorities. At the workshop, the Nordic Authorities held presentations regarding the state of competition in waste management in their respective countries. Following those presentations and the subsequent discussions, the Directors General of the Nordic competition authorities decided that waste management should be the subject of a joint Nordic project. The main conclusion of this report is that there is considerable scope for increased competition within the waste management sector in the Nordic countries. Embracing market solutions may create opportunities for new and innovative solutions that could bring about cost savings, reduce resource scarcity and generate an overall increased efficiency of waste management services. Studies have shown that the use of procurement procedures in waste management can lower costs considerably, especially related to collection. New solutions and flexibility stemming from competition can further help to fulfil environmental goals.
Competition in the waste management sector – preparing for a circular economy