According to a recent study, around one-third of household and industrial waste recorded in the Faroe Islands is sorted to be sent for recycling. Around 60 percent is incinerated by using heat recovery and less than 9 pc. ends up in landfill, a study and survey carried out by 12 companies in environmental sustainability initiative Burðardygt Vinnulív together with combustions facilities IRF near Leirvík and Kommunala Brennistøðin (KB) near Tórshavn.
“Total waste volumes have been steadily increasing since 2019 as commercial activity has increased alongside household consumption,” a statement from Burðardygt Vinnulív read.
“A survey was sent out recently to 500 people across the Faroe Islands to get a deeper understanding of waste management habits at home.”
The items which we are incentivised to return are recycled the most — 72 percent of respondents said they regularly recycled plastic bottles, glass and aluminium at local facilities and bottle banks, compared to 65 pc. for hazardous waste collected from home, 51 pc. for paper and cardboard from home, and 23 pc. for other materials at local facilities.
Around 30 pc. of the respondents said that in the past five years they are recycling more items or materials relative to previously and 26 pc. that they are recycling more often now than earlier.
‘Recycle everything you can’
“The most common barrier to recycling stated was lack of convenience,” the statement went on to say, adding a note of caution:
“There still continues to be leakage with waste ending up in the sea and in Faroese nature, impacting valuable ecosystems.”
When asked whose responsibility it is to ensure that products and packaging do not have a negative impact on the environment, three-fifths of respondents said it was their own responsibility, one-half said it is the responsibility of companies/producers, and almost one-quarteere said responsibility rests on their waste management company, while another one-fourth pinned that responsibility on wholesalers and retailers.
“Working in collaboration with Burðardygt Vinnulív, IRF and KB would like to promote responsible waste management and circular solutions to reduce the impact waste has on nature in the Faroe Islands and beyond,” the statement continued. “Burðardygt Vinnulív members will be looking for ways to actively reduce waste and ensure proper treatment of the waste they generate both directly and indirectly.”
“You can play your part too,” we’re told. “Start by educating yourself on how you can reduce the amount of waste you generate. Choose products with less or recyclable packaging. Recycle everything you can. Contact your waste management company if you have concerns or ideas to improve recycling.”