Plastic packaging for recycling

a dish brush made of recycled plastic

Recycling plastic packaging saves energy in the production of plastic and reduces the need to use oil. Plastic packaging waste collected from consumers is delivered to Fortum Plastic Refinery in Riihimäki, where Fortum sorts plastics and makes recycled raw materials or finished products. After sorting, a small part goes to further processing in Finland and the rest of Europe.

There are more than 1,850 Rinki eco take-back points in Finland, and more than 600 points also accept plastic packaging from households. To ensure that plastic packaging is recycled appropriately, it is important that the plastic packaging waste returned to the take-back points is carefully sorted according to the sorting instructions.

At the refinery, plastic packaging waste is processed into material that is used in the production of recycled plastic products. Non-recyclable plastic can be used with mixed waste as fuel at waste-to-energy plants.

Recycled plastic is turned into, for example:

  • various consumer goods, such as dish brushes, toilet brushes and clothes brushes, shoehorns, flower pots, watering cans, spray bottles
  • furniture such as chair components
  • various plastic bags and trash bags, recycled plastic bags for shops
  • for construction, for example, apparatus box covers and board composites

Read more about recycling plastic packaging: www.uusiomuovi.fi.

FAQ

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.

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.

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.