Plastic packaging sorting instructions for households

muovipakkausten lajittelu


Empty and dry plastic household packaging

  • Plastic food packaging such as yoghurt pots, butter tubs and packaging for colt cuts, cheese and ready meals
  • Detergent, shampoo and soap packaging
  • Plastic bottles, cans and jars, preferably flattened
  • Plastic carrier bags, bags and wrappings



  • Dirty plastic packaging and mixed waste
  • PVC packaging
  • Other plastic products or plastic packaging waste from companies

Any packaging that contains residues of dangerous substances and pressurised packaging (e.g. paint, chemicals, oils, medicines, hairspray) must be taken to your local hazardous waste collection point.

Do I need to remove caps and lids?

Yes, whenever this is possible. You should remove caps, lids, dispenser pumps and similar loose parts (e.g. films on cheese packaging) and place these into the collection container separately.

An optical reader identifies the different types of plastic in the recycling process, which are then separated. For example, if a tray and the film on it are made of different types of plastic and are still joined together, the reader will only recognise one type. Some packaging material is thus placed in the wrong group, which can significantly hamper the recycling process.

Other detachable parts, such as the pumps found in detergent bottles, should be separated before recycling.

How to sort plastic packaging at home and at Rinki eco take-back points (in Finnish)

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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?

As a rule of thumb, packaging waste should be clean enough to be stored at home for a length of time.

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.