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A Scenario Model for the Generation of Waste

3. ISAG and the development in the amount of waste 1994 -96

3.1 Household waste
3.1.1 Domestic waste
3.1.2 Bulky waste

According to public regulations, waste management facilities have to report the amount of waste received to the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (Danish EPA, 1993). Waste management facilities include waste incineration plants, recycling firms and landfills. The data in ISAG are based on information from these facilities (470 plants). ISAG includes the amount of waste grouped according to the geographical and economic sources, the type (whether it is domestic waste, garden waste, waste from industrial activities, etc.), the content (fractions like combustibles, non-combustibles, paper and cardboard, etc.) and waste management (incineration, recycling, etc.).

The categorisation used in the model is mainly the primary economic sources (i.e. excluding waste from management facilities) and fractions. In the case of a few very composite fractions such as "Various combustibles", however, the type contains some information about which economic activity generated the waste. This information (in addition to supplementary information from specific analyses) is used when, for instance, modelling generation of "Various combustibles" by households.

Table 3.1. Waste by fractions and sources, 1996.

The amount waste for each of the fractions and sources included in the model is shown for 1996 in Table 3.1. Fractions 90-93 account for about 30% of the total amount of waste generated. Of the total excluding fractions 90-93, the major fractions are "Various combustibles" (31% of the total excl. fractions 90-93), "Various non-combustibles" (9%), "Concrete" (11%), "Asphalt" (8%) and "Other building/construction waste " (6%). It should be noted that the fractions "Various combustibles" and "Various non-combustibles" are very composite fractions, containing a mixture of other waste fractions. In contrast, the other fractions are relatively homogenous and are collected separately with the purpose of recycling or special treatment.

The sources, "Households", "Trade and services" together with "Manufacturing", and "Building/construction" each generate about 1/3 of the total amount of waste in fractions 9-75. About 2/3 of "Various combustibles" is generated by households and of the total amount of waste generated by households, "Various combustibles" account for about 2/3. "Various non-combustibles" is more evenly distributed among sources, although manufacturing accounts for about 40% of the total. In the case of the large composite fractions "Various combustibles" and "Various non-combustibles", waste collected as household and bulky waste is examined in detail in Sections 3.1 and 3.2. Specific analyses of the content of the fractions are available for these two sources but not for other sources. "Concrete", "Asphalt" and "Other building/construction waste" are mainly generated by the source "Building and construction" including demolition and road construction.

Development in the total amount of waste is shown apportioned by source in Table 3.2. It should be mentioned that the statistics are still under development and are becoming more complete, i.e. part of the development/increase in the amount of waste is due to expansion of the statistical base (through an increase in the number of waste management facilities reporting to the ISAG system).

About 260,000 tonnes of the increase in 1996 is attributable to firms reporting for the first time. Of this about, 240,000 tonnes derive from the source "Building and construction". Correcting for this, the total amount of waste increased about 10% in 1996. As is apparent from Table 3.2, much of the increase is attributable to a considerable increase in waste from coal-fired power plants as a result of increased electricity production and the net export of electricity to Sweden and Norway. Correcting for the increase in the statistical base, the total amount of waste in fractions 9 to 75 increased about 8%. This mirrors a large increase in waste from building and construction (even when corrected for the additional firms included in the statistics) and moderate increases in waste from the other major sources. Waste from households increased about 6% with a large increase in garden waste and a small (2%) increase in the other fractions. Waste from manufacturing increased about 3%. Waste from trade and services increased about 2%. Thus correcting for extraordinary changes, waste from sources other than building/construction increased by an average of about 2-3% in 1996.

Table 3.2. Aggregated amounts of waste 1994-96.

Waste in tonnes 1994 1995 1996
Total waste 11,131,284 11,451,663 12,911,471
Subtotal, fractions 9-75 7,547,684 7,955,548 8,840,939
Subtotal, fractions 90-93 3,583,600 3,496,115 4,070,532
Households 2,551,359 2,590,214 2,741,200
Trade and services 655,046 832,988 847,779

Fractions 9-75

Beet earth

Net export of scrap iron and metal













Building and construction 2,447,646 2,564,480 3,116,776
Waste water treatment plants

Fractions 9-75

Sewage from municipal plants










Other sources

Fractions 9-75

Residuals from coal-fired power plants










The development in waste generation is shown for aggregated fractions in Table 3.3, and for all fractions and sources included in the model in Table 3.4. With regard to the sources, the development is partly attributable to extraordinary changes and the expansion of the statistical base. In the case of the major fractions the development has been as follows:

  • "Various combustibles" has increased moderately
  • "Various non-combustibles" has decreased from all major sources, indicating increased waste separation at source.
  • "Various recyclable" increased markedly in 1995 due to improved collection of paper and cardboard and biodegradable waste from manufacturing.
  • "Garden waste" increased considerably in both 1995 and 1996, mainly due to improved usage of municipal waste schemes for garden waste. About 20,000 tonnes of the increase in 1996 is attributable to reporting from additional facilities, however.
  • "Iron and metal" has varied considerably. Including net-export from scrap dealers, iron and metal waste totals about 900,000 tonnes, or about 7% of the total amount of waste.
  • "Various building waste" has increased considerably, largely as a result of major increase in the amount of waste concrete in 1996. Part of the increase is due to firms reporting for the first time, though, and in general the development mirrors increased building activity and improved re-processing facilities for building materials.
  • "Residuals from coal-fired power plants" increased considerably in 1996, mainly due to increased electricity production and the net export of electricity.
  • "Beet earth" increased by about 100,000 tonnes in 1996, mainly due to wet weather conditions during harvesting of the sugar beet rather than increased production.

Table 3.3. Waste of aggregated fractions, 1994-96.

Waste in tonnes 1994 1995 1996
Various combustibles 2,531,938 2,588,052 2,743,322
Various non-combustibles 929,166 885,018 757,560
Various recyclable 587,189 881,957 877,299
Garden waste 301,341 376,447 451,934
Iron and metal 563,979 470,709 544,986
Various building waste 1,843,697 1,898,038 2,485,334
Earth and stone 425,915 400,442 480,219
Waste for special treatment 364,458 454,885 500,285
Total fractions 9-75 7,547,684 7,955,548 8,840,939
Residuals from coal-fired power plants 1,962,000 1,699,000 2,332,000
Beet earth 260,000 215,000 314,088
Sewage from municipal plants 1,038,600 1,070,300 1,070,600
Net export of scrap iron and metal 323,000 511,815 353,844
Total 11,131,284 11,451,663 12,911,471

Table 3.4 Waste by fraction and source, 1994-96

3.1 Household waste

From Table 3.4 it can be seen that combustible and non-combustible household waste in 1996 totalled 1.8 and 0.164 million tonnes, respectively. This is a large share of the total amount of waste. Household waste consists of three fractions defined by the way it is collected: domestic waste, bulky waste and garden waste. The first two are analysed separately below.

3.1.1 Domestic waste

The data for household waste shown in Table 3.4 include all household waste independent of the collection method. The amounts collected as domestic waste (in waste bags) are shown in Table 3.5. The fraction "Various combustibles" amounted to about 1.4 million tonnes in 1996, or 78% of the total amount of combustible waste from households (about 0.4 million tonnes were collected as bulky waste giving a total of about 1.8 million tonnes). In Table 3.5 the fraction "Various non-combustibles" represents waste bags from households, which have not been incinerated. In the future this fraction is expected to fall to practically zero. In the following, the fraction "Various combustibles" and "Various non-combustibles" are treated together as representing the total amount of combustible waste in the household waste bags.

Table 3.5. Domestic waste from household sources

Tonnes 1994 1995 1996
Various combustibles 1,406,369 1,373,527 1,395,697
Various non-combustibles 29,063 18,205 10,034
Paper & cardboard 119,614 152,551 140,416
Bottles & glass 64,188 41,000 60,934
Plastics 776 1,399 296
Waste food/other organic waste 32,816 38,886 45,584
Other reusable waste 8,807 3,496 1,534
Total 1,661,632 1,629,065 1,654,496

In making projections it is assumed that the amount of each waste fraction is proportional to the future development of certain macroeconomic variables. Domestic waste is a too large and heterogeneous group of waste to relate to only one economic variable, however, and has to be disaggregated into more homogeneous groups of waste. As this is not possible based on the waste statistics available in the ISAG system, disaggregation has been undertaken on the basis of a specific analysis.

The best available analysis of household waste was carried out during a one year period from July 1992 to July 1993. A total of 2,650 waste units (bin-bags) from households, totalling over 25 tonnes of waste, were hand sorted into 20 different fractions (Danish EPA, 1994). Domestic waste from flats, houses (detached/semi-detached), terraced houses, farmhouses and summer cottages was analysed. Random samples of one week’s waste were taken at six different sites around Denmark. In order to gain an impression of any seasonal variations, one week’s waste from 50 selected houses was also analysed once a month over a full year. The conclusion, however, was that there were no notable seasonal variations.

The waste fractions weights determined in the analysis are based upon waste which has been mixed, i.e. water will have moved from the wet food waste into the paper fractions. The results were therefore adjusted for this water movement based on dry matter analysis. This correction for the water movement is included in Table 3.6. Thus 10% has been added to the weight of the vegetable food waste and the animal food waste, 10% subtracted from the weight of "Other soiled paper and cardboard" and "Other clean paper and cardboard", and 40% subtracted from "Absorbent household paper".

The amount of paper and glass collected through various schemes for recycling and reuse was also determined and corrected for in order to produce an overall picture of domestic waste generated. The results of the analysis are given on page 109 of Danish EPA, (1994). The fractions "Paper and cardboard" and "Bottles and glass" in Table 3.5 already include the amounts of paper and glass collected through the various schemes for recycling and reuse, however. Since we are here investigating the composition of the waste in the first two lines of Table 3.5, "Various combustibles" and "Various non-combustibles" (i.e. the content of domestic waste bags), we must exclude the correction for the recycling schemes. Only the waste paper in the household waste bags is included in Table 3.6.

The total amount of combustible and non-combustible domestic waste in 1996 was thus about 1.1 million tonnes, or about 0.3 million tonnes less than the data shown in ISAG (Table 3.5). One reason for this could be that part of the waste collected from households actually originates from the service sector. The difference between the figures in Table 3.6 and the ISAG data is mainly attributable to the fact that waste from summer cottages is not included in the calculations, however.

The right hand column in Table 3.6 shows the three macroeconomic drivers (Appendix 1) used to project the waste fractions (no driver for garden waste). Adding the fractions in these groups it is apparent from Table 3.6 that 65.8% of the content of the waste bags is food and packaging waste, 16.5% is paper and other non-durable goods waste, 13.8% is durable goods waste, and 3.9% is garden waste.

Table 3.6. Content of the combustible and non-combustible fractions of domestic waste in Table 3.5.

Household waste

Explanatory variable in
Fraction 1,000 tonnes %
Vegetable food waste 358.8 33.7 FCf
Animal food waste 83.2 7.8 FCf
Newspapers and magazines 49.6 4.7 FCi
Advertising and printed matter 32.1 3.0 FCi
Nappies, sanitary towels, cotton wool 67.5 6.3 FCi
Absorbent household paper 23.9 2.2 FCf
Paper and cardboard packaging 73.7 6.9 FCf
Other soiled paper and cardboard 51.0 4.8 FCf
Other clean paper and cardboard 26.5 2.5 FCi
Plastic packaging 58.4 5.5 FCf
Other plastics 29.7 2.8 FCv
Garden waste 41.5 3.9 Exogeneous
Other combustible 55.0 5.2 FCv
Glass packaging 28.7 2.7 FCf
Other glass 3.0 0.3 FCv
Metal packaging 21.2 2.0 FCf
Iron and other metals 9.4 0.9 FCv
Other non-combustible 45.7 4.3 FCv
Environmentally hazardous waste 2.9 0.3 FCv
Electrical and electronic products 1.5 0.1 FCv
Total 1063.2 100.0

3.1.2 Bulky waste

The amount of bulky waste from households registered in ISAG is shown in Table 3.7. The fractions "Various combustibles" and "Various non-combustibles" account for 85% of the bulky waste from households and the following analysis therefore concentrates on these two fractions.

Table 7 Bulky household waste registered in ISAG in tonnes.

1994 1995 1996
Various combustibles 357,096 373,204 374,781
Various non-combustibles 161,283 156,112 143,626
Paper and cardboard 22,855 20,775 20,006
Bottles and glass 4,755 5,100 3,952
Plastics 584 551 707
Iron and metal 6,854 8,600 21,228
Car tyres 9 20 4
Concrete 123 283 1,444
Tile/bricks 101 566 772
Other building/construction waste 508 500 500
Asphalt 2 25 56
Wood 3,041 2,078 3,491
Earth and stone 1,008 4,902 4,450
Other reusable waste 23,673 24,081 37,701
TOTAL 581,893 596,798 612,718

As is apparent from the table, "Various combustibles" increased over the period 1994-1996, while "Various non-combustibles" decreased. The total amount of bulky household waste also increased during the period.

An analysis of bulky waste has been divided into combustible and non-combustible waste (see Danish EPA, 1998). The analysis has been made on randomly chosen loads of waste from different municipalities in Denmark in June 1996. Altogether 19 containers from 6 municipalities were analysed. The containers derive from manned container stations, unmanned container stations and collection systems. Although only bulky waste was supposed to be disposed of in the containers, all containers examined contained other waste such as domestic waste, garden waste and oil and chemical waste. In the following, the waste from the analysed containers is divided only into combustible and non-combustible bulky waste, ignoring other waste types incorrectly placed in the containers.

The fractions "Various Combustibles" and "Various non-combustibles" are characterised by being compounded fractions. Unlike the fractions "Paper and cardboard", "Bottles and glass", "Plastics", "Iron and metal", "Car tyres", "Concrete", "Tile/bricks", "Asphalt", "Wood", "Earth and stone", which all consist of rather clean materials, "Various combustibles" and "Various non-combustibles" are assumed to consist of a variety of different products and materials.

Bulky waste is reported to the ISAG system by the waste management facilities, and not by the municipalities. As the above-mentioned analysis has been made based on data registered by the municipalities, there may be differences in the data from this analysis and the data registered in ISAG.

Various combustibles
In the above mentioned analysis "Various combustibles" amounted to less than 0.1‰ of the total combustible bulky waste from households in 1996. The use of this analysis for distributing the combustible waste into minor product groups is therefore subject to considerable uncertainty. The results of the analysis were nevertheless used here, the assumption also being made that the municipalities investigated are representative.

The "Various combustibles" fraction was divided into the two groups; "Small combustible waste" and "Large combustible waste". Small combustibles are collected through collection schemes and at manned container stations for recycling, while large combustibles are only collected at manned container stations. However, the waste collected through collection schemes is delivered to the manned container stations and registered there. The public can dispose of bulky waste at manned container stations which typically have containers for paper and cardboard, bottles and glass, plastics, iron and metal, and for various combustibles and various non-combustibles. Only containers with combustibles and non-combustibles were analysed.

The distribution of combustible waste into different groups of products varies depending on the size of combustible waste, see Table 3.8. Based on the results of the analysis, the combustible waste has been weighted as 80% small waste and 20% large waste in the right hand column.

Table.8 Combustible waste apportioned by product type.

  Small combustible waste Large combustible waste Combustibles weighted average

Electrical devices






Articles for everyday use





























Total 100% 100% 100%

Furniture: 40% wood and textiles, 30% carpet.
Building/construction: 60% wood, 24% other combustibles.
Packaging: 50% cardboard, 40% plastics, 5% wood.

Based on the weighed average, combustible waste from construction and demolition accounts for the major share of the combustible waste (36%), followed by furniture (33%) and packaging (17%). With respect to small and large combustible waste, however, the figures vary. For example, packaging accounts for 22% of the small combustible waste but only 3% of the large combustible waste.

Various non-combustibles
The analysis of the various non-combustibles (Danish EPA, 1998) is not representative, most of the waste in the "Various non-combustibles" having been collected at the manned container stations. In the model it is assumed that all the non-combustibles can be classed as building/construction waste.

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