In 2015, Avfall Sverige, the Swedish Waste Management and Recycling association, published a study that calculated the waste footprint of 11 products and estimated the climate cost due to the greenhouse gas emissions related to the production processes. In preparation to the 12th edition of the 12th European Week for Waste Reduction focusing on invisible waste, the report was translated into English.
The consumer goods assessed were chicken and beef, an electric drill, a laptop computer, a liter of milk, a pair of trousers, a pair of leather shoes, a smart phone, training clothes (a T-shirt and a pair of shorts in polyester), carton milk packaging and a newspaper.
The results demonstrate that there are great environmental benefits by producing less consumer goods and use the products more efficiently because only then it is possible to reduce the overall waste footprint from our consumption. The authors thus argue for the importance of changing consumption patterns, and advocate for novel business models based on a use-oriented consumption (sharing and reusing) that encourage different ways of consuming and more sustainable life styles.
This report inspired the Swedish campaign on invisible waste, which is being scaled up at the international level during the European Week for Waste Reduction. Avfall Sverige is a long-standing coordinator of the EWWR in Sweden.