Municipalities and other authorities


The responsibility of the authorities is divided between the municipalities, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ministry of the Environment and Energy.

The municipalities

The municipalities are responsible for transporting municipal waste to a treatment plant for recycling or disposal, landfilling. This includes waste from households as well as “similar waste” from e.g. restaurants, shops, offices, etc.

The municipalities are also responsible for ensuring that the municipal waste is disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. Thus, they are also responsible for ensuring that the local residents have places where they can dispose of hazardous waste.

The municipalities must inform residents about what to do with packaging and newspapers, and the environmental benefit of recycling these materials.

Each municipality is required to have a waste and sanitation ordinance and a waste management plan. The waste and sanitation ordinance must include the regulations for waste management that apply in the municipality. The waste management plan must include details of how the municipality intends to reduce the amount of waste and the danger posed by it. A municipal waste management plan must also include information on measures to prevent the generation of packaging waste and measures to promote the reuse of packaging.

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is the Government’s central environmental authority. The aim of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is to reduce the environmental impact of goods, from raw materials to waste, through sustainable production and sustainable consumption. They have a particular responsibility for ensuring that waste management is environmentally acceptable and simple for consumers. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency supports other actors in their environmental work by:

  • developing and disseminating knowledge
  • formulating requirements and levels of ambition, proposing new instruments, and carrying out assignments on behalf of the Government
  • cooperating with the EU, the Nordic countries and globally
  • monitoring and evaluating.

The Ministry of the Environment and Energy

The Ministry of the Environment and Energy is responsible for coordinating the Government’s environmental policy, and also represents Sweden in environmental policy contexts within the EU.

In order to create ecologically sound waste management, the Ministry of the Environment and Energy works, among other things, to create a strong chemicals policy and comprehensive waste management regulations. Another high priority is to follow up on the work towards achieving the 16 environmental quality objectives defined by the Government.

The Ministry of the Environment and Energy is responsible for formulating the Government’s environmental policy, for example in bills and in international cooperation. The practical implementation of national decisions lies with the central authorities, such as the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, and the municipalities.

The agencies are in principle independent of the ministries and have their own decision-making powers under the guidelines, laws and regulations issued by the Government and the Parliament (Riksdag).



Last updated: 2021-12-03