Waste management in Sweden – Case study at the IKEA warehouses in Älmhult

University essay from Lunds universitet/Miljövetenskaplig utbildning

Abstract: The thesis consists of a description of the waste management in Sweden today, related to a case study at IKEA’s warehouses in Älmhult. Waste is globally one of the most important environmental challenges. Waste management in Sweden has developed a lot during the past years and is now standing in front of the next big challenge: to reach higher up in the waste hierarchy. By studying the academic literature and by interviewing actors relevant to the Swedish waste management scheme, ideas about challenges and improvements were presented. A large part of the Swedish waste volumes come from the industry and to be able to draw conclusions about how to improve the waste management in an industry the thesis included a case at IKEA’s warehouses in Älmhult. The field research was based on site visits and a questionnaire aimed at the team leaders at the warehouses. There was also a study of IKEA’s guidelines and targets regarding waste. The results show a need for new policy instruments regarding the Swedish waste management scheme. Past instruments have focused on the lower parts in the waste hierarchy and new instruments need to focus higher. A mix of instruments seem to be most efficient. New fractions that are not sorted today will probably be more important in the future, for example textile and electronic waste. For IKEA the results showed a need to improve the planning regarding the placement for the waste bins and the responsibility for the waste management, for example concerning the focus on the unsorted and wrongly sorted waste. The best methods for that would be improved information through labelling and increased information to the co-workers. Support by their waste contractor, SITA, would likely contribute to continual improvement.

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