We have been working with Mepex on behalf of the Norwegian Environment Agency (NEA) to map the impacts of a switch away from 19 commonly-littered single use plastic items in Norway.

On 27 March 2019, the European Parliament formally passed the Single Use Plastic Directive, which will require Member States to ban selected single-use products, as well as introducing EPR schemes and measures to reduce single-use plastic consumption. This study will assist the NEA in developing a Norwegian proposal on reducing marine litter by implementing measures for SUP items.

Our research, which aimed to identify and quantify the economic and environmental impacts of SUPs and their alternatives in Norway, found that switching to multiple use items would reduce overall waste generated by roughly 62,000 tonnes, a greater amount than switching to single-use non-plastic items.

The report, Reducing Littering of Single-Use Plastics, is based on Norway’s single-use plastic consumption in 2018 and the resulting waste generated. Our consultants identified that the most significant flow of marine plastic resulted from lightweight plastic carrier bags, followed by sanitary items and drinks containers.

In addition, our economic assessment found that consumer savings are also maximised by switching to multiple use items, with Norway’s likely total financial savings equating to NOK 3.5 billion per year if the full transition to multiple-use alternatives was made.

Our research supports the NEA in banning single use plastics items for which alternatives are widely available, by providing information on the impact of switching to these alternatives. The final report was sent to the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, who announced that the country will start work on banning some single use plastic items, including disposable cutlery, plates, straws and stirrers.

Ayesha Bapasola, our Project Manager, said:

“It was fascinating to carry out this research and explore the meaningful impacts that banning single use plastics would have in Norway. The switch to reusables has always made logical sense, and it’s great to see that backed up by such positive data.”

Photo courtesy of Bo Eide, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.