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Competition concerns in the waste management sector?

A new report from the Nordic Competition Authorities refers to a less than optimal use of resources in the waste management sector. Competition authorities believe that increased use of competition would lead to significant savings for residents, better recycling rates, and the creation of a market that will incentivise innovative developments.

Norwegian municipalities are legally responsible for the collection and treatment of waste from households. Today, a large amount of Norwegian waste is collected and processed in fully vertically integrated, in-house waste management systems owned by the municipals. The result is that residents are paying far above market price for waste management.

One of the measures highlighted in the report is that municipalities should make use of tenders to determine whether the market can offer better and cheaper waste solutions than what is currently provided by the municipals themselves. Tendering processes should be implemented in the best possible way by strengthening purchasing departments, establishing strong central support functions, and facilitating increased cooperation between municipalities.

In addition to efficient tender processes it is pointed out in the report that it will be important to enable efficient competition in the market, hereunder through the facilitation of export. International trade in waste can facilitate efficiencies, and national borders should therefore be immaterial to the decision of where to treat waste. It is therefore essential to facilitate a cross-border circulation of waste and secondary raw materials by ensuring that they can be traded easily across the EEA.

The report envisages that by sensible work allocation between public and private sectors, one can offer a service which will benefit both citizens and the external environment. Moreover, it is pointed out that moving from past ways of command and control to a circular economy where private and public entities work together, will be beneficial both in terms of resource utilization and value maximization for the parties involved.

Steenstrup Stordrange has extensive experience working with these types of contracts and knows the market well. We can therefore assist in facilitating good cooperative structures in those markets which are opened up to this kind of Cooperation.

Contact:

Thomas Sando, Partner
tsa@steenstrup.no
T: +47 951 26 344

Aksel J. Hageler, Partner
ajh@steenstrup.no
T: +47 480 23 834

Heidi Magnussen, Associate
hem@steenstrup.no
T: +47 452 82 343

The Author

Thomas Sando
Thomas Sando Thomas Sando is partner and a member of Steenstrup Stordrange’s Competition Law Practice. Sando is a former legal advisor in the Norwegian Competition Authority. He has extensive experience in competition law work and advises and represents clients on all aspects of competition law issues, e.g. with regard to cooperation and distribution agreements, abuse issues, merger control procedures, general compliance and in the case of dawn raids. Sando has been selected by his peers to be included in Best Lawyers Norway (in the category “Antitrust”) in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

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