What producer responsibility?
Does your company pack or import packed products? Or is your company a foreign distance seller that delivers products to users in Finland? Is your company’s turnover over one million euros per year? In that case, your company must take care of packaging producer responsibility, and it must make sure its packaging is recycled.
Producer responsibility is a legal obligation for businesses. It applies to companies that pack products in Finland or import packed products for the Finnish market or sell their products to Finland through distance sales and have a turnover of at least one million euros. A company is also responsible for its packaging if the packing or logistics has been outsourced to another company.
A company with producer responsibility for packaging is responsible for the entire process of collection and recycling of their packaging waste as well as all related costs. The Packaging Waste Decree stipulates that producers must meet the material-based recycling objectives and requirements for packaging waste in Finland.
It is easiest for a company to handle producer responsibility by joining a producer organisation, in which case the producer responsibility is transferred to the producer organisation.
In addition to packaging, the Waste Act stipulates producer responsibility for tyres of motor vehicles, cars, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries and accumulators as well as paper products.
What does producer responsibility mean?
What kind of companies must meet producer responsibility obligations for packaging?
Producer responsibility for packaging concerns:
- A Finnish packer* or a foreign company’s Finnish branch**, which packs products for the Finnish market
- A Finnish importer* or a foreign company’s Finnish branch**, which operates as an importer of packed products to the Finnish market
- A foreign operator, established in another country than Finland and sells packed products directly to users in Finland through distance sales
the company has a total turnover of at least 1 M€.
*the company has a Finnish business ID and is domiciled in Finland
**the company has a permanent establishment in Finland and is registered as a branch in the Trade Register maintained by the National Board of Patents and Registration
The easiest way to handle producer responsibility
The easiest and most convenient way for companies to handle their producer responsibility obligations for packaging is to sign a contract with producer organisations administered by Rinki.
Companies registered at Rinki contribute to shared costs of packaging recycling by being part of the producers’ shared system.
The implementation of producer responsibility is supervised
The Pirkanmaa ELY Centre is the authority that supervises the implementation of packaging producer responsibility in Finland.
Rinki submits the packaging statistics that it collects from companies to Pirkanmaa ELY Centre every year. The statistics are drawn up from the data reported by Rinki member companies. The statistics only show the total packaging material volumes. Rinki does not disclose information about individual companies to third parties.
Pirkanmaa ELY Centre does not require Rinki registered companies to explain how they take care of their producer responsibility obligations.
Pirkanmaa ELY Centre submits a report to the EU every year on packaging waste volumes as well as information about the recycling and reuse of packaging waste in Finland.
Producer organisations are responsible for recycling packaging waste
Packaging industry producer organisations are legally competent not-for-profit organisations. They are responsible for ensuring that the targets set by EU and Finnish legislation for recycling of packaging are met in Finland, and that the receipt of packaging at terminals and related communications are carried out in accordance with the legislation.
Producer organisations agree on material-specific recycling fees, which Rinki invoices from companies and deposits with the producer organisations.
The aim is that recycling of packaging is arranged cost-effectively so that the fees paid by companies remain reasonable.
Companies must arrange for waste disposal from their properties
The company is responsible for sorting the packaging waste remaining on its premises and arranging its transportation from the premises. Waste transportation can be agreed upon with a waste transport company. The price for transportation is a separate cost to the company and not included in the fees that Rinki charges.
The recycling fees charged by Rinki cover the recycling of packaging placed on the Finnish market by a company and the collecting of consumer packaging in Finland. The collection of packaging waste from the company’s premises is not included in these fees.
The recycling fee charged by Rinki is used to fund the network of terminals for receiving packaging waste, where material is received free of charge, as well as for the transportation of materials from the terminals to the waste treatment plant and recycling them or turning them into raw material for new products.