Paper recycling pose new challenges for municipalities
October 29, 2021

New challenges when municipalities take over recycling and collection of paper and newspaper

Big changes in Sweden's paper recycling
Changes and opportunities are two concepts that often go hand in hand, and with all the changes that are coming, we thought we would have a chat with someone who really knows the situation.

A lot is happening in the recycling industry right now, and it has hardly escaped anyone in Sweden that the recycled paper recycling in the country will be on the municipalities’ tables from January 2022, and thus no longer handled by Pressretur.

In a previous article, we have given our view on the matter, but here we have contacted someone who has even more insight and experience of recycling paper, namely Ronny Thelin from the transport company Ohlssons i Landskrona AB, who here shares his thoughts with us.

Good day Ronny, can you tell us about your role at Ohlsson’s?

  • I work as a Key Account Manager for Ohlsson’s large customers, for example with Pressretur but also other customers such as Pantamera.

How long have you worked at Ohlsson’s?

  • I have worked here for 10 years now.

What are your biggest challenges right now?

  • Right now we are trying to establish Ohlsson’s in the Stockholm region.


From next year, the responsibility for recycled paper will be transferred from Pressretur and Papperskretsen to the individual municipalities around the country, how do you view such a change?

  • I actually think it is quite strange that the government would want to change such a good and well-functioning concept as they have today. But I still feel that we are well prepared for this change because we have a presence over so much of the country. It remains to be seen how the municipalities intend to act to solve this, hopefully they are on their toes, because the next decision to further change national recycling processes may come as early as 2023 and then it may include many more types of material for which they will be responsible. Recycled paper is a rather thankful task to take over for the municipalities, but when they eventually have to take over the recycling for plastic and cardboard, there will also be considerably larger volumes to deal with, and hence greater strain.


What will this change mean to you and other companies in your industry?


  • Even if the volumes of recycled paper decrease, the volumes of other materials keep increasing. It is important that we are prepared to adjust and work with other materials that are rapidly increasing in quantity.


How do you think the new clients, the municipalities, view this change?


  • I think that this decision came a little too quickly compared to what they would have liked, and that can create problems in itself, but I also see that they have good opportunities to complete the task with good results in the long run. Municipalities work for the benefit of society, and promoting environmental work is usually close to their hearts.


It remains to be seen how the municipalities intend to act to solve this, hopefully they are on their toes, because the next decision to further change national recycling processes may come as early as 2023 and then it may include many more types of material for which they will be responsible
Ronny Thelin, Ohlssons i Landskrona AB

What would you say is the most important part of your work to reduce your environmental impact?

  • We work a lot with environmental issues and what measures we can take, such as driving on HVO or gas for example. We work hard to drive as sparingly as possible, which is an important part of reducing our emissions.


Given that municipalities work a lot with the UN’s climate goals in Agenda 2030, could it possibly even be good for the industry that they are taking over responsibility, from an environmental point of view?


  • It certainly can be, even though I think we in the private sector are very good at working to reduce our environmental impact, and take great responsibility for environmental issues already today.


What do you think is the next step for your industry, what do you feel needs to happen?


  • We need to be more efficient, and adapt our way of thinking. You have to think more about the whole, and not just see yourself as a transporter to the municipalities, but understand that you can increase the value in more parts of their business.


You have been using the Smart Recycling system for over a year now, what can you see for the effects of it considering all we have talked about here?


  • What we did before was that we drove according to predetermined routes every day, but when we instead tested driving according to what the system calculates, we quite suddenly managed to reduce both the number of kilometers and the number of hours driven. So we can see a clear and positive effect, even if we have not done a comprehensive evaluation in detail yet. But we can certainly do even more with the system and utilize it even better to further reduce hours and kilometers.


We thank Ronny for his time and participation. It is always interesting to hear how people who are close to “where it happens” view things and how they plan to meet the challenges of the future. Ohlssons is a company on the rise, which is always on its toes and looking ahead for opportunities and challenges.

If you who read this feel that you too want to be well prepared for the future, with all that it can mean, you are warmly welcome to contact us, so we can do something very good together, or tell you more about our vision on the circular economy.


Thank you for your time!


Peter Nilsson, Marketing Manager – Smart Recycling