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    Waste management in Iceland has developed considerably in recent years. Before 1990, most of the waste was either burnt in open pits or landfilled. In the past, information about waste management in Iceland used to be almost exclusively published in reports and was primarily based on rough estimates. Currently, incinerators and landfilling sites are highly regulated and follow EU legislation. Additionally, reporting has gradually improved and is approaching EU standards, although improvement is still needed. In an international context, Iceland is far behind the other Nordic countries as well as the EU-27 countries in reducing landfill rates and enhancing energy recovery and recycling rates. According to the EU landfill directive, the total amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) landfilled must be below 10% by 2035; however, it is currently over 60%. Other targets are similarly far off, and it is unlikely that Iceland will meet those in time without immediate and significant changes in waste management. This article aims to evaluate MSW management in Iceland at the national and regional levels, its compliance with the EU's targets for waste management and the associated costs inflicted on municipalities. Hence, annual accounts data were used when comparing regions and municipalities. It was found that there are significant differences in per capita waste management expenditure between municipalities with less than 1,000 inhabitants (€379) and ones with more than 10,000 inhabitants (€106). Without changes in proposed future waste management strategies, this gap will inevitably increase in the upcoming years. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Guðmundur Kristján Óskarsson, Sveinn Agnarsson, Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir. Waste management in Iceland: Challenges and costs related to achieving the EU municipal solid waste targets. Waste management (New York, N.Y.). 2022 Sep;151:131-141

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    PMID: 35944430

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