Plastic packaging

muovipakkausten lajittelu

Why is it only possible to put packaging and not products such as buckets or toys in the plastic packaging collection?

Rinki eco take-back points are only for the collection of household packaging. This is based on a statutory producer responsibility, which specifically applies to packaging. Companies that package products in Finland or import packaged products for the Finnish market and have a turnover of at least one million euros are responsible for recycling packaging made of glass, metal, carton and plastic and for the related costs. Such companies bear so-called producer responsibility, which means that the packaging materials that have entered the Finnish market with products must be collected and recycled, and they must be reused in the production of new products. This responsibility is based on EU and Finnish legislation.

The operations of Rinki eco take-back points are funded by recycling fees collected from packaging producers. If other types of waste were taken to Rinki eco take-back points, the cost of recycling would be excessive and unfair for the producers.

Plastic products do not carry the same producer responsibility as plastic packaging, and their collection is the responsibility of the municipal waste management companies. Plastic products such as toys may also include electronic parts. There is a separate collection service for waste electrical and electronic equipment, please visit http://serkierratys.fi/en/frontpage for more information.

Can I put an oil canister into a plastic packaging collection container?

There must not be a single drop of oil left in the canister as it causes a wide range of problems and is also a safety risk. Because oil canisters are very difficult to empty completely, they cannot be put into plastic packaging collection. Please take oil canisters to a hazardous waste collection point in your area.

How are hand sanitizer bottles sorted?

A completely empty hand sanitizer bottle can be sorted into a plastic packaging collection container. If there is any disinfectant left in the bottle, it should be taken to a municipal waste collection point for hazardous waste.

  1. Use all the disinfectant in the bottle so that the bottle is completely empty. Not even a drop should come out of the bottle.
  2. Open the cap or pump section of the bottle to allow even the smallest disinfectant residue to evaporate.
  3. Sort the empty bottle and cap or pump section separately into a plastic packaging collection container.

Can I put plastic medicine packets into the plastic packaging collection container?

Empty, clean and dry plastic medicine, vitamin and herbal product packaging can be put into the plastic packaging collection container.
Plastic blister packs can be recycled with plastic packaging if they do not contain PVC. If the plastic is PVC, please sort it according to your local authority’s instructions (usually with mixed waste). Packaging entirely made of aluminium is recycled with metal.
For packaging containing unused medicine or residues, follow the instructions offered by your local waste management service. Local pharmacies usually collect unwanted medicine. Unused medicine must never be flushed down the toilet or sink.

How do I sort black plastic packaging?

Black plastic packaging can be put into the collection container despite the fact that with today’s technology some of it ends up in energy production. The problem is that the optical readers that are currently in use at the plastic refinery do not recognise all types of plastic used in black packaging. Suppliers of equipment for the plastic refinery are constantly developing technology to solve this problem in the near future.

Can I put polystyrene packaging into the container for plastic packaging?

Yes, packaging made of polystyrene, or EPS (expanded polystyrene) as it is officially known, can be put into the container. Please note, however, that EPS boards used in construction cannot be put into the container for plastic packaging.

Packaging made of EPS is not currently recycled, as it crumbles easily during the sorting process. The material is also very spongy and readily absorbs dirt and liquids.

Most of the EPS packaging used by various industries is recycled as the material is homogeneous.

How carefully do I need to wash plastic packaging?

Packaging should be empty, clean and dry. They must not contain any food or other residue. Drain the packaging to make sure it is dry.

It is not worth the effort to wash packaging that is very dirty or difficult to wash. If cleaning a packaging requires warm water or detergent, it may be eco-friendlier to put the packaging into a container for mixed waste. As a rule of thumb, packaging waste should be clean enough to be stored at home for a length of time.

Can I put plastic packaging inside each other?

Packaging made of different types of plastic must not be put inside each other. The optical scanner at the recycling facility only recognises the material of the outermost item. If there are different types of plastic nested inside, they will go into the wrong category in the sorting process.

If you are sure that all packaging are made of the same type of plastic, you can put them inside each other. You can also use a plastic bag for carrying plastic packaging, as bags are automatically opened at the start of the sorting process.

My plastic packaging has a letter but no number. Can it go into the plastic packaging collection container?

Plastic packaging often only identifies the type of plastic by an abbreviation or number. Any packaging marked with either symbol can be recycled (except for PVC, which is marked with the number 3). Material labelling is not mandatory on packaging, so a symbol is not always displayed. You can put plastic packaging into a collection container even if no material label can be found on the packaging. The most important thing is that it is packaging.

What kind of plastic packaging is suitable for recycling?

Just remember the number 3. All plastics are suitable for recycling except PVC, which is identified by the number 3, 03 or the word PVC. If the packaging has a PVC symbol, do not put it into the collection container for plastic packaging. If there is no symbol on the plastic packaging, it can be recycled. Very little PVC is used in packaging. It is not used in food packaging, but it is sometimes used in the packaging of imported tools and toys. However, if PVC packaging is accidentally put into a collection container, it can usually be removed during the sorting process at the recycling plant.

Do I need to remove and return plastic caps and lids separately?

Yes, whenever this is possible. Remove caps, lids, dispenser pumps and similar loose parts (e.g. films on packaging of cold cuts) and place these into the collection container separately.

Tops and lids are often different plastic than the rest of the packaging. In recycling process plastics are identified by an optical reading device and are separated from each other. For example, if the flow and the cover film are different kind of plastics and connected to each other, the reading device recognizes only one. Part of the packaging in such a way ends up in the wrong group, which may significantly impede recycling.

It is also easier to flatten plastic bottles and cans without their tops. They take up less space when flattened. This also guarantees that the packaging is empty and dry.

What kind of packaging can be brought to the plastic packaging take-back points?

You can bring empty, clean and dry plastic household packaging that was originally used as packaging for a product. Packaging is widely used for packing food, textiles, electrical devices and chemical products but other items also fall into this category. Shopping bags and plastic wrapping (like for a bread roll) are also considered packaging.

Please note that new plastic food containers, bin liners, cling film and other similar products bought in a shop are not plastic packaging, nor are plastic removal or storage boxes. These are plastic products and dealt with by municipalities.

Finnish legislation also specifies the packaging definition for certain products (Decree 518/2014, definitions in Finnish). Examples:

  • CD cases are not packaging but the plastic wrapping on the case is.
  • A plastic hanger is packaging if it was sold with a piece of clothing. Sold separately, a hanger is not packaging.
  • The dosing ball for laundry detergent is packaging.