Towards a Circular Economy for Plastic Packaging: Current Practice and Perspectives in the City of Oslo
Birgen, Cansu
Becidan, Michael

How to Cite

Birgen C., Becidan M., 2022, Towards a Circular Economy for Plastic Packaging: Current Practice and Perspectives in the City of Oslo, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 92, 121-126.


There is room for improvement in the current waste management systems to achieve material recycling goals consistent with a Circular Economy. Packaging waste fractions which have specific EU recycling targets constitute a significant part of the waste system. In Norway, the lowest recycling rate is that of plastic packaging compared to other packaging fractions, therefore it was chosen as the focus of this study. The plastic packaging waste was quantified in the different Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) streams, and the recycling rate estimated according to different methods. This work is essential to identify potential improvements in the system and enable increased recycling targets in the City of Oslo, the largest city in Norway with a strong dedication to the Circular Economy principles. This study provided quantitative data for plastic packaging supplied to the market for the City of Oslo, i.e.,11308 tons in 2019. This number, necessary for calculating the recycling rate, was only available at the national level. A finding of this study is that the largest improvement potential for recycling can be found in the mixed household waste fraction that contains 67% of all plastic packaging waste. Increased recycling could be achieved through improved source sorting (dependent on the citizens' behavior) and/or the establishment of a post-sorting facility. Looking at different methods used for recycling rate estimation can open for a better understanding on how to best improve the system. The current recycling waste, calculated using the latest EU method, was estimated as 18.6%. To reach the 2025 target of 50%, this rate will have to almost triple in less than 3 years' time. It is doubtful that it can be achieved with the current system. Results of this study can help to design effective, targeted measures for evaluating and increasing the recycling rate of plastic packaging.