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Plastic waste

Source sorting of plastic waste in the manufacturing industry

Today, significant amounts of plastic waste from the Swedish manufacturing industry are generated which are not sorted for source recycling. Instead, they end up in combustible waste fractions that go to energy recovery. This means a significant waste of resources.

Although large quantities of plastic waste arise from the manufacturing industry, most initiatives around a more resource-efficient management of the resulting plastic waste have focused on the plastic waste that has arisen in connection with consumption.

The purpose of this project (Barriers and opportunities to increase the source sorting of plastic waste from the manufacturing industry) has been to identify and evaluate the obstacles to increased sorting of plastic in the Swedish manufacturing industry and to propose how the sorting of plastic waste can increase.


The project results were based on a survey among companies supplemented with interviews with waste and recycling operators. A clear conclusion is that there is great potential to increase source sorting and thus recycling. More than a tenth of companies today do not have any sorting of waste plastic waste, although plastic waste is produced in their production.

However, the industrial companies that sort the plastic waste have a high degree of source sorting where smaller amounts of the plastic waste go to incineration. Both for plastic packaging and production waste, four out of five companies sort out about 70 percent of the plastic. However, the level is lower for other process material.

The survey is not comprehensive, but shows that the most important obstacles to increased source sorting are the presence of pollution, the complex material composition and that manufacturing companies cannot guarantee that the material fills a sufficiently high quality.


In summary, the project recommends a number of measures for increased source sorting and recycling of plastic waste in the manufacturing industry:

  • To a greater extent use conventional goods transport for the return logistics of the resulting plastic waste.
  • Increase collaboration between waste and recycling players in the collection of plastic waste.
  • Increase collaboration between players in the value chain.
  • Take advantage of the possibilities of chemical recycling of plastic waste.
  • Reduce the number of plastic types for packaging and process materials.
  • Information efforts for production personnel.
  • Goals - which are followed up - for the company's waste management.


Project name

Plastic waste in manufacturing industry



RISE role in project


Project start


4 months

Total budget

1 070 000 SEK


Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

Project members

Final report

Supports the UN sustainability goals

9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
12. Responsible consumption and production

Contact person

Carl Jensen


Read more about Carl

Contact Carl
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