The recycling of waste must be increased through cooperation, advice and regulation

Finland must increase recycling as it aims to be a model country of the circular economy

In order to save natural resources, the recycling of municipal waste must be increased. New, ambitious goals on the recycling of municipal waste have been issued in connection with the circular economy package of the EU, but currently Finland is far from reaching them. Significant changes in the current system are required in order to reach the goals.

Recycling can be increased by expanding the property-specific separate collection of biowaste, plastic packaging waste and cardboard in particular, as well as increasing the efficiency of sorting. A uniform level of collection throughout Finland can be ensured by including more specific obligation limits on separate collection in the waste legislation, set on both household waste as well as the waste from administration, services and business activities. In order to control the environmental and cost effects, the obligations on separate collection could be limited to built-up areas. According to the report, the current system, in which the yard of the property has separate bins for each waste fraction, emptied by separate collection vehicles, is the most expensive way of increasing recycling. In order to reduce environmental and cost effects, new collection methods such as multi-compartment collection bins should be tested in small-house areas and at the edges of built-up areas. The efficiency of sorting can be increased by providing more advice.

Making the waste management responsibilities clearer enables cost-effective planning. The current model of division of responsibilities in packaging waste management can be improved by introducing a statutory cooperation procedure between producers and municipalities, in which issues such as the division of costs and the collection methods are agreed upon. The dispersal of waste management responsibilities can also be clarified by removing the option of waste transport organised by the property holder from the Waste Act.