In the industry category, large volumes of plastic materials such as EPS (polystyrene), insulation materials, foils, electrical items, pipe systems, extension leads, fillers, reinforcing fibre, packaging and plastic from the automotive industry are generally consumed.
There are some types of litter from business and industry that dominate the findings on beaches and that are reported to Rydde by volunteers, including reinforcing fibre and extension leads. Reinforcing fibre consists of countless tiny plastic fibres used in shotcrete for road development and construction projects throughout the country. When blasting masses and waste from tunnel, port or residential property development end up in the sea, all the plastic used in the materials and in the work tags along, including reinforcing fibre and extension leads and such waste is unfortunately also found on beaches that are cleared.
Another source of litter is EPS, also known as polystyrene. This is one of the materials of which large volumes are found during beach clean-ups in Norway. EPS represents a significant environmental problem, as it infiltrates vegetation, quickly crumbles into smaller fragments, and can cause harm to animals and nature. Unfortunately, it is also difficult to identify the sources of EPS, as it could originate from either land or sea and, for example floating elements, insulation and construction materials, fish boxes and food packaging, to name but a few. For this reason, the Norwegian Environment Agency is seeking to strengthen the measures taken to combat this type of litter and the sources of EPS, among other things, will be further mapped and additional measures to limit national EPS litter will be introduced.
Here, the construction and civil engineering industry accounts for approximately 20 per cent of total plastic consumption in Europe and 32 per cent of plastic consumption nationally, of which 40,000 tonnes each year becomes plastic waste. The automotive industry also accounts for a significant proportion of plastic litter, with 60,000 tonnes of plastic waste generated annually, according to Mepex’s estimations. The agricultural industry is addressed in a separate chapter and is therefore not included here.