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The role of local information in MSWM

Waste separation at source is a common method in municipal solid waste management (MSWM) in Sweden. In this method the role of inhabitants is crucial. They should separate and collect the different fractions of waste at home and bring them to the recycling station. The recent research shows that incorrect waste sorting for a city like Borås imposes a community cost of 13 million SEK per year (Rousta K. Ekström Karin M. 2013).This project aims to find the actions and models that will help the system to be as simple as possible to participate in for the inhabitants.

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As a result, the correct sorting rate of waste fractions increases, which results in an increase of the recycling of material.

The project started in 2011 in a pilot area (a part of Norrby in Borås, and led to positive results. Two important factors have been indicated during this study: 1) the distance to the recycling station, 2) the need of information about how and why to sort the waste. Another study is to follow. This aims to develop the different methods for how to make information reach the inhabitants.  A pre-study on this pilot project shows that, the majority prefer to be communicated face to face. The information should be as simple as possible and at the same time highly visible.

The results of this study may become a guide for the politicians and engineers who are involved in the waste management system. The local information which will be produced aims to make an atmosphere in the area which engages all the inhabitants to participate actively in the source separation system. The results of this study will be analysed in order to find if such an information system will be appropriate to tackle the problem will waste separation and recycling or not.  Other aspects, such as integration in this multicultural area will also be analysed.

External head of research

  • Lisa Dahlén, Luleå tekniska universitet