Producer responsibility for packaging applies to firms which pack products in Finland or import packed products for the Finnish market and which have a turnover of EUR 1 million or more.
A firm which must meet producer responsibility packaging obligations is responsible for the entire process of collection and recycling of their packaging waste as well as all related costs. The law also stipulates the national targets for producer responsibility and the requirements for recycling and reusing packaging materials that must be implemented in Finland.
In addition to packaging, the Waste Act stipulates the producer responsibility for tyres of motor vehicles, cars, electrical and electronic equipment, batteries and accumulators as well as paper products.
What kind of firms must meet the producer responsibility for packaging obligations?
The producer responsibility lies mainly with Finnish firms. The Pirkanmaan ELY Centre took the position that as of May 2015, a producer is deemed to be a firm that meets the following conditions:
The firm has a Finnish business ID and at least one location on the mainland of Finland.
The firm has a turnover of EUR 1 million or more in Finland.
The firm packs products in Finland or is an importer of packed products for the Finnish market.
A foreign company or its affiliate that is registered at the Finnish Trade Register is under producer responsibility obligations if all the conditions mentioned above are fulfilled.
PLEASE NOTE: A Finnish firm is also under producer responsibility obligations in terms of packaging of products that it purchases from a foreign company, where that foreign company does not fulfil all the conditions mentioned above.
The earlier position concerning an importer of packed products was valid until 30 April 2015; whereby a firm that owns a packaged product at the moment of import is under producer responsibility obligations. Until the end of April 2015, an importer with producer responsibility may also be a firm that is registered abroad.
The law stipulates producer responsibility
In Finland, producer packaging responsibility applies to firms that have a turnover of EUR 1 million or more and pack products in Finland or import packed products to the Finnish market. The responsibility concerns all packaging and packaging waste that results from their use. The Council of State Packaging and Packaging Waste Decree is based on the European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and the Finnish Waste Act.
The legislation aims to:
reduce the amount of packaging waste
increase the reuse of packaging in new products
prevent environmental damages and remove barriers to trade
- prevent distortion and restrictions of competition by an equal treatment of packaging materials
Producer responsibility regulations
Producers must organise the collection and recycling of packaging plus other waste management according to the regulations sipulated in the European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and the Finnish Waste Act.
The European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive is implemented in Finland through the Waste Act (1072/1993), the Council of State Decision on Packaging and Packaging Waste 962/1997 and the Council of State Packaging and Packaging Waste Decrees 987/2004 and 817/2005.
The amendment 452/2004 of the Waste Act added Section 3a, upon which the packaging producer responsibility has been based since 1 September 2004. The obligations concerning reuse and recycling have been based on the Council of State Decision 962/1997 and Decree 817/2005 mentioned above.
The new Waste Act (646/2011) entered into force on 1 May 2012. This law was amended in January 2014, when a transition period was granted for the effective date of the extended producer responsibility; it came into force on 1 May 2015.
- The Council of State accepted the Packaging and Packaging Waste Decree 518/2014 on 3 July 2014, which defines the reuse targets for packaging and recycling targets for packaging waste; it also defines collection targets for consumer packaging in more detail.
Collection of consumer packaging is part of producer responsibility
During 2015 and 2016, producers will become responsible for the entire process of collection and recycling of consumer packaging. The producers are liable for all collection and recycling costs and also for ensuring that the stricter recycling requirements for packaging waste as set in the Finnish law are met.
The extended producer responsibility cencerning packaging came into force on 1 May 2015. The reception terminals opened on the same day. The terminals are maintained and paid for by the producers, and they are located all over the country. The terminals take back glass, fibre, metal and plastic packaging waste collected by municipalities and waste haulage companies for free. The terminals only receive packaging waste material which has been sorted according to the producer organisations' instructions.
As of 1 January 2016 the producers will also be responsible for the collection of consumer packaging in Finland. The Rinki eco take-back point network will have a minimum of 1,850 take-back points for fibre, metal and glass packaging waste and 500 points for plastic packaging. Most of the take-back points will be located near shops with good transport connections.
Municipalities can offer a supplement for the producers' consumer packaging collection by setting up their own take-back points or by collections from residential premises. Private waste haulage firms can also offer their services to producers and residential premises if the municipality of the producers do not arrange the collection.
Links for the regulations
Council of State decision on packaging and packaging waste 962/1997
The Council of State decree 987/2004 (in Finnish)
Council of State Decision no. 988/2004 (in Finnish)
The Council of State decree 817/2005 (in Finnish)
The Council of State decree 518/2014 (in Finnish)
Waste Act timeline
Producer responsibility for packaging has been covered in the Finnish legislation since 1997. The Council of State Packaging and Packaging Waste Decree is based on the European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and the Finnish Waste Act. Here you can read more about the development of the laws that the current legislation is based on.
The Waste Act 1072/1993 comes into force.
The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 94/62/EC comes into force in EU States.
An Agreement between the business sector and the Ministry of the Environment: the packaging sector is responsible for the recovery of packaging waste in Finland in accordance with the requirements of the directive.
Finland joins the EU.
The Council of State Decision on Packaging and Packaging Waste 962/1997 comes into force.
The Environmental Register of Packaging PYR Ltd is established.
Partial producer responsibility for packaging: 61% by weight of total packaging waste must be recovered. The Finnish Environment Institute is the official monitor of producer responsibility.
The Directive 2004/12/EC amends the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 94/62/EC. Revision of the Waste Framework Directive begins in the EU.
Waste Act Amendment 452/2004. Pirkanmaa ELY Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (Pirkanmaa ELY) becomes the official monitor of producer responsibility.
The Council of State Decree 817/2005 amends the Council of State Decision on Packaging and Packaging Waste 962/1997. Recycling and recovery targets are set for packaging materials for 2008.
The Ministry of the Environment begins revision of the Waste Act in Finland based on the EU Waste Framework Directive. PYR participates in the consultations.
The government bill (HE 199/2010) is presented to Parliament. PYR and the producer organisations in the packaging sector participate in influential working groups.
The position of the business sector in favour of the retention of partial producer responsibility is presented to parliamentary committees. The President approves the Waste Act, including the provisions on extended producer responsibility for packaging. Preparation of the decrees associated to the Waste Act begins.
The Waste Act 646/2011 comes into force on 1.5.2012. Drafting of the packaging decree continues.
The Waste Act Chapter on producer responsibility comes into force on 1.5.2013 with EPR not yet applicable to packaging. The proposed amendment to the Waste Act concerning packaging and the new packaging and packaging waste decree are at the consultation stage. PYR and the producer organisations are involved in influencing several working groups.
Proposals for the Waste Act and the associated decree include:
extending the transition period for the entry into force of EPR
harshening of the recycling targets for packaging and the number of take-back points under producer responsibility for consumer packaging in Finland.
Amendment to the Waste Act 646/2011 comes into force on 27.1.2014. An extension of the transition period for the entry into force of producer responsibility is obtained.
The Council of State Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste 518/2014 comes into force on 10.7.2014. More precise regulations are set in the decree concerning:
the take-back network for consumer packaging under producer responsibility
harsher targets for the reuse and recycling of packaging (2016 and 2020) and the introduction of separate targets for deposit and non-deposit packaging respectively.
EPR Provisions in the Waste Act come into force for packaging on 1.5.2015. Producer reception terminals for packaging waste, numbering 30, are in operation as at 1.5.2015 for the materials collected by municipalities and firms.
The Environmental Register of Packaging PYR Ltd was renamed as Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd.
In accordance with the Packaging and Packaging Waste Decree the producer take-back network for consumer packaging is in operation as at 1.1.2016 with a minimum of 1850 take-back points for fibre, metal and glass packaging waste and a minimum of 500 for plastic packaging waste.
Producer responsibility made easy
For firms, the easiest way to ensure that their producer responsibility obligations are looked after is to join Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd. Producer responsibility is a legal obligation to businesses.
A company only needs to sign a contract with Rinki to transfer the packaging producer responsibility obligations to the producer organisations. Rinki and producer organisations arrange the recycling of packaging in order to ensure that the recycling targets set by the EU and Finnish law are met in Finland.
Efficiency from a shared system
Firms normally use a variety of packaging and packaging materials. They seldom know where their packaging end up in the market. Collecting packaging waste and organising recycling would be very expensive for an individual company. Rinki member firms do not need to maintain the system by themselves but they contribute to the shared costs by being involved in the producers' system.
Organising producer packaging responsibility
Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd's duty is to ensure that the member firms can implement their producer responsibility for packaging easily and efficiently.
Producer responsibility for packaging applies to firms that pack products in Finland or import packed products to the Finnish market and have a turnover of EUR 1 million or more. Producers, i.e. firms, must organise the recycling of packaging that is brought to the Finnish market with their products as well as the collection or reception of packaging waste. Firms are also responsible for all costs incurred from these operations.
Packaging waste material collected and sorted correctly must be reused in new packaging or new products, i.e. it must be recycled. Recycling of packaging is an integral part of a firm's environmental responsibility.
Responsible firms working together in the producer organisation
- The easiest way for firms to implement their producer responsibility is to sign a contract with Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd. The firm enters the collective system of other firms with packaging producer responsibility and contributes to the shared costs of recycling of packaging materials.
- It would be very expensive for a firm to cover the costs of the entire recycling chain by itself. Very few firms know where their packaging end up in the market.
- A contract with Rinki covers recycling of the packaging the firm brings to the Finnish market as well as the collection of consumer packaging carried out in Finland.
Firms arrange the collection of sorted packaging waste from their premises. This can be arranged with waste haulage firms, and the costs of collection are not included in the fees that Rinki charges.
Rinki is a service company
Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd is a non-profit service firm founded in 1997 and owned by Finnish industry and retail trade.
- Producer organisations in the packaging sector have authorised Rinki to arrange the collection of consumer packaging in Finland. In addition, the producer organisation for glass packaging producers, Suomen Keräyslasiyhdistys ry, has agreed on the recycling of glass packaging waste with Rinki.
- With its Rinki eco take-back points, Rinki ensures that correctly sorted carton, glass, metal and plastic packaging from households is collected from the Finnish market for recycling efficiently and at a reasonable cost.
- Rinki also registers firms with packaging producer responsibility, collects the funding for recycling of packaging from the firms and compiles statistics on the total volumes of packaging as well as produces statutory reports of the implementation of producer responsibility to the authorities.
Rinki also informs firms and consumers about recycling packaging and Rinki eco take-back points and offers other support and advice.
Producer organisations responsible for recycling packaging
- The producer organisations in the packaging sector are non-profit organisations. Their duty is to ensure that the recycling targets set by the EU and Finnish law are met in Finland.
- Producer organisations decide independently on the material-specific recycling fees that Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd charges firms with producer responsibility.
- The aim is that recycling of packaging is arranged cost-effectively so that the fees paid by firms remain reasonable
The role of municipalities and environmental firms in consumer packaging collection
Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd, packaging producer organisations, municipalities and environmental firms work together to ensure that the collection and recycling of packaging waste is organised appropriately everywhere in Finland. Producers, represented by Rinki and producer organisations, bear the main responsibility for the consumer packaging recycling process. The role of private and municipal environmental firms is also significant.
- Municipalities can offer a supplement to the producers' consumer packaging collection by setting up their own collection points or by collections from residential premises. Municipal waste collection is funded by waste management fees.
- Private waste haulage firms can also offer their services to producers and residential premises if the municipality or the producers do not arrange the collection.
The Pirkanmaa ELY Centre supervises the implementation of producer responsibility
The Pirkanmaa ELY Centre is the authority that supervises the implementation of packaging producer responsibility in Finland.
- Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd informs the authorities of the firms that have authorised Rinki to implement their packaging producer responsibility on regular basis.
- Rinki also compiles reports of how the recycling of packaging has been organised in the system of firms with producer responsibility.
The Pirkanmaa ELY Centre submits a yearly report to the EU about the recycling of packaging in Finland as well as about how well the targets for recycling of packaging agreed on with the EU and the Finnish government have been achieved.
Authorities monitor the implementation of producer responsibility
Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd maintains the register of packers and importers of packed products in Finland. The Pirkanmaa ELY Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment is the authority that monitors the implementation of producer responsibility in Finland. The authority has the power to give more detailed orders and instructions.
Collaboration between Rinki and the Pirkanmaa ELY Centre
Rinki submits the packaging statistics it has collected from firms to the Pirkanmaa ELY Centre once a year. The statistics are compiled from the information supplied by the firms registered with Rinki. The statistics only reveal the total amounts of each packaging material. Rinki does not disclose any information about an individual firm to third parties.
Rinki also provides the ELY Centre with a list of firms that have signed a contract with Rinki at regular intervals. These firms are not therefore required to submit a statement about the implementation of producer responsibility to the Pirkanmaa ELY Centre.
Producer organisations responsible for reaching recycling targets
Producer organisations coordinate the recycling of packaging in order to ensure that the recycling targets set by the EU and Finnish law are achieved in Finland. The producer organisations are legal entities as required by law and non-profit organisations.
Producer organisations decide independently on the material-specific recycling fees that Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd charges to firms. The aim is that recycling of packaging is arranged cost-effectively so that the fees paid by firms remain reasonable.
Suomen Kuitukierrätys Oy (SUK) is the producer organisation responsible for the recycling of paper packaging, carton packaging and corrugated cardboard. These packs include various cardboard boxes, cereal and biscuit boxes, paper bags, milk and juice cartons and similar products. SUK is also in charge of the recycling of fibre-based industrial packaging such as cases, wraps and bags used for industrial purposes. Visit the SUK website (in Finnish): Suomen Kuitukierrätys
Suomen Keräyslasiyhdistys ry is the producer organisation for producers of non-deposit glass packaging, and was founded back in 1998. Non-deposit glass packaging include pots and jars as well as non-deposit bottles. The organisation aims to promote the recycling of glass and its other reuses as well as to reduce the amount of glass waste. Visit the website (in Finnish): Suomen Keräyslasiyhdistys (in Finnish).
Suomen Uusiomuovi Oy is a non-profit organisation owned by 42 Finnish firms and organisations. It was founded in 1992. The firm's task is to create and maintain systems that reuse plastic packaging as raw material. Examples of plastic packaging include stretch film and other film, pallet covers, carrier bags, beakers, tubes, bottles, dishes and films that cover them, stoppers, caps, canisters, bin liners, binding bands, plastic boxes, baskets, plastic pallets, blister foil and polystyrene packaging. Visit the website: Suomen Uusiomuovi Oy
Mepak-Kierrätys Oy is a non-profit organisation founded in 1997. Mepak is responsible for arranging the recycling of metal packaging in Finland. Metal packaging include various packaging made of aluminium, tinplate and steel. More than a quarter of the material in each metal packaging is recycled. In addition, a significant portion of metal packaging is reused in Finland. Visit the website: Mepak-Kierrätys Oy
Puupakkausten Kierrätys PPK Oy was founded in 2005. It is the producer organisation responsible for the recycling of wooden packaging in Finland. Wooden packaging include FIN, EUR and disposable pallets, cable reels as well as various kinds of platforms, frames, boxes, containers, barrels, stretchers and supports made of wood or plywood. Visit the website (in Finnish): Puupakkausten Kierrätys PPK Oy