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Waste Management Act (No. 55 of 2003).

Type of law
Date of original text

The objective of the present Act is to create conditions for a circular economy and to ensure that waste management and waste handling are carried out in a way that: a. ensures there is no danger to human and animal health and the environment is not harmed; b. it does not cause nuisance due to noise or odors; c. there is no adverse effect on the landscape or places of special value; d. waste management is purposeful and cost-effective and the resulting waste is treated appropriately; e. the sustainable use of resource is promoted through actions and education to reduce the generation of waste; f. the use of raw materials from waste that is generated is increased; and g. waste handlers pay the costs of waste treatment. The Act contains 70 articles organized in the following chapters: I. Objectives, scope and definitions; II. General provisions; III. Transport of waste between countries; IV. Batteries and accumulators; V. Special provisions on the treatment of waste from the mining industry; VI. Issuance of regulations; VII. Waste of electrical and electronic equipment; VIII. Hazardous waste; IX. Organic waste; X. Special provisions on landfills; XI. Special provisions on incinerators; XII. Ship recycling; XIII. Supervision, coercive measures, procedure and sanctions; XIV. Implementation and entry into force.
The Executive shall issue a general policy on waste management and on waste prevention for twelve years at a time, which is valid for the entire country. Regional plans shall also be developed according to this Act. It shall be the responsibility of the local government to determine the arrangements for the collection of household and commercial waste in its jurisdiction. All waste must be taken to appropriate treatment, either directly for re-use or to a collection or reception center, and from there to re-use or disposal, as further stipulated in the regulations or municipal bylaws. It is not permitted to dump waste anywhere other than at a reception center or in a waste container, including local containers. Open burning of waste is prohibited. When handling waste and establishing rules for management and policy in waste issues, the following prioritization shall be used as a basis: a. waste prevention; b. preparation for reuse; c. recycling; d. other reuse, eg energy production; and e. disposal. There must be separate collection of at least the following types of waste: paper and cardboard, metals, plastics, glass, biological waste, textiles and hazardous materials. Waste that is not reused according to Article 11, shall be discarded taking into account the objectives of this Act. All waste reception centers must have a valid operating permit. Operators must submit a report to the Environmental Agency each year on the waste that was treated in the previous calendar year. The Environment Agency shall be responsible for the preparation of general educational material and to inform and educate the public and legal entities on waste prevention and waste management.
The production, collection and transportation of hazardous waste, as well as their storage and handling, shall be in accordance with the objectives of this Act according to Article 1. Hazardous waste shall be collected separately in accordance with Article 10. Hazardous waste and their packaging may not be mixed with other hazardous waste or other any other waste or materials. Dilution of hazardous waste is considered mixing. When collecting, transporting and temporarily storing hazardous materials, they must be placed in appropriate packaging and labeled appropriately. Organic waste shall be treated taking into account the objectives of this Act and in accordance with the prioritization of waste management defined in Article 7, to the extent possible, in particular by: a. using it in composting and/or gas processing; b. making fertilizers from it; or c. using materials produced from it.
Date of consolidation/reprint
Entry into force notes
This Act enters into force immediately.
Consolidated version as last amended by Act No. 103 of 25 June 2021.
Source language


Legislation Amendment
Original title
L g um uppbyggingu og rekstur fr veitna.