Field: Waste reduction
Global Technical function: Manufacturing, Promoting sustainable practices
Technical Function Unit: Cleaning, Public interest investor for demonstration and commercial exploitation, Raising consumer awareness, Venture capital for development, demonstration and commercial exploitation
Geographic Area: Sweden

Collection of agricultural scrap reduces waste streams from the agricultural sector

Through a unique insurance solution and close collaboration with a Swedish insurance company, farmers can easily get rid of agricultural scrap and hazardous waste. The waste is collected in the countryside once a year and then recycled. The aim is to increase recycling and reduce waste streams and environmental impacts.

The challenge

Scrap from farms may contain environmentally hazardous substances. Discarded tractors may contain oil and brake fluids, which could leak into the environment. Older scrap may also contain the environmental toxin PCB. Pesticides and mercury are further examples of substances that can leach into the environment and have environmental and human health risks. Agricultural scrap is usually quite cumbersome to transport and hazardous waste is dangerous to store and expensive to dispose of. This leads to such waste streams remaining in the countryside instead of being recycled.

The measure

Keep Sweden tidy is a non-profit organization located in Sweden, and runs a project aimed at waste reduction and cleaning the Swedish countryside from agricultural scrap and hazardous waste. By promoting sustainable practices via regulation and standards, environmental impacts can be reduced. The project also implies raising consumer awareness to reduce environmental impacts. The project is conducted in cooperation with the Swedish insurance company Länsförsäkringar (public interest investor for demonstration and commercial exploitation), where Keep Sweden tidy manages the administration and execution of the project. By ensuring that hazardous waste is collected annually Sweden can get a cleaner countryside. Between 2007 and 2013, 44 500 tons of hazardous waste and 76 000 tons of agricultural waste was collected from farmers. The scrap is disposed by Stena Recycling and transported to the nearest recycling center where it is checked and processed for conversion into new raw materials. This in turn reduces risk of damage from the hazardous waste. Some hazardous waste can be recycled, and otherwise destroyed or disposed in a safe way. Metals can be recycled, which requires less energy compared to using raw materials for manufacturing. By getting these metals into recycling systems, valuable natural resources are saved.

Lessons learnt

The concept is an easy way to keep the country side clean and increases the recycling of hazardous waste. Since Stena Recycling collects the waste from farms, little of these wastes get disposed of improperly.


Further deployment

The concept has been  successfully deployed in several parts of Sweden. Therefore, the concept is estimated to be beyond 9 on the GML scale.