On January 1, 2023, a new set of laws regulating waste management and recycling came into effect. The regulations, called The Circular Law (Hringrásarlögin), include a new recycling system, packaging fees ensuring that manufacturers and importers contribute to the cost of collection and recycling, and prohibiting many categories of waste from being incinerated or disposed of in landfills. The implementation of these changes has neither been sweeping nor instantaneous, and 2023 will see many municipalities throughout Iceland gradually adjusting to the new system.
The circular economy has existed as a concept since at least the 1970s. In contrast to a so-called linear economy, in which raw materials are manufactured into goods, sold, used, and then disposed of, a circular economy seeks to integrate recycling, waste management, and repairability into every level of the supply chain, ensuring that resources remain in circulation for as long as possible.
Policymakers, academics, and entrepreneurs increasingly agree that the circular economy is the next frontier in environmental sustainability. These are the entrepreneurs who are making the Icelandic economy circular.