The reformed Waste Act entered into force – This changes for the producer-responsible company

Author: Rinki Published: 19.07.2021

The reform of the Waste Act entered into force on Monday, July 19, 2021. The amendment will accelerate recycling and circular economy: With the new Waste Act, the responsibilities and costs of producer-responsible companies will increase, but at the same time foreign online sellers will be included in the system.

Recycling targets are tightening

The revised Waste Act is based on the revised EU Waste Directive of 2018, which aims to reduce the amount of waste and increase the rate of reuse and recycling.

The revised Waste Act also means that the recycling targets for packaging waste will go up in two stages (in 2025 and 2030). In terms of plastic packaging in particular, meeting the new targets will require a significant increase in the recycling rate in Finland.

Under the revised Waste Act, companies that sell and import packed products are responsible for recycling packaging. Producers in Finland are to pay at least 80% of the costs of packaging collection and recycling.

Producer responsibility is expanding

The most significant change for Rinki’s customers is the extension of the scope of producer responsibility to cover the separate collection of packaging from residential properties. Companies have only been responsible for the collection carried out through Rinki eco take-back points. The separate collection from properties will also increase the volume as it becomes mandatory for all residential properties with at least five homes.

Municipalities will organise a tender for the separate collection of packaging from residential properties with at least five homes. Municipalities do not own collection equipment so the actual collection will be carried out by private transport companies. Producers will pay municipalities for the collection, and they will have a say on the conditions under which the collection is carried out.

The revised Waste Law has many good features: foreign online shops are now covered by producer responsibility. Finnish companies used to also have to pay the recycling fees incurred by foreign companies engaged in distance selling. Rinki’s message to decision-makers has been that the authorities will also have to monitor that foreign operators are bearing their share of the costs of producer responsibility.

The costs of producer responsibility are rising

The costs of producer responsibility payable by Rinki’s customers will increase significantly with the introduction of the revised Waste Act. In 2020, the costs were about 24 million euros, and after the transition period, in 2025, the costs are estimated to reach 60–70 million euros.

The expanded liability for the costs payable by companies for the collection of packaging will start when the transition period expires on 1 July 2023. The higher recycling targets must be met in 2025, which will also increase the costs. Preparations, however, will already start this autumn.

Recycling targets will be calculated from the net volume

The revised Waste Act raises Finland’s recycling targets to the level set by the EU Directive. The recycling rates will be based on the material that is actually recycled and reused, while up until now it has been based on the volume collected for recycling. Not all of the collected material can be used as raw material, so even maintaining the current level of recycling will require more sorting. Achieving the recycling targets will also require a well-functioning market and greater demand for recycled materials.

Producer organizations are being reorganized

The revised law requires one producer organisation to take care of the producer responsibility for all packaging materials. The current producer organisations have started negotiations to prepare for the change in legislation.

More information:

Customer service for companies
Tel. +358 9 6162 3500 (local landline charge/mobile charge), on weekdays 8.30 a.m – 15.30

Communications manager Heli Satuli
Tel. +358 44 320 3622

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