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The plastic investment - a freely formulated assignment

  • Published on December 17, 2021

The environmental impact of plastics is a major problem. As part of Sweden’s efforts to achieve a more sustainable use of plastics, the Government tasked the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to spend up to SEK 78 million annually between 2018 and 2020 to reduce plastics in the sea and in nature. This funding has been included in the agency’s allocated framework funding. To prepare for the Swedish EPA’s continued efforts to achieve a more sustainable use of plastics, the agency wanted to analyse the results and outcomes of the initiative in more detail. However, the Government did not specify any special measures or outcomes for the initiative. Instead, the Swedish EPA had relatively free hands to formulate the assignment based on the defined financial framework. As such, the purpose of the evaluation is to specifically summarise experiences from implementing the plastics initiative to help in the agency’s continued efforts to achieve a more sustainable use of plastics. More generally, we also want to gain a better understanding of what happens when funding is provided with relatively limited guidance. We have done this by analysing the connection between the project’s outcome or results and the available policy documents. We have also interviewed staff who worked with the initiative so we could include their experiences and what they identify as outcomes.

This report intends to promote the sustainable use of plastics in Sweden. Due to the fact that plastic waste is a major issue worldwide, this document provides valuable insight on a global issue. It shows how the reduction of plastics can be initiated by giving a local agency the freedom to formulate the assignment. The report also reveals that the outcomes are in alignment with the national government's circular economy goals as well as the agency's sustainable plastic use stance. Meanwhile, the importance of companies and civil society to participate in the process of reducing plastics was also highlighted.

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