Waste and recycling
Recycling instructions may vary a little in different parts of Finland. You will normally find the instructions next to the waste containers outside your home, or you can ask for these from your own municipality or lessor. Do not throw rubbish out of the window or into the street or forest.
Undamaged goods are not waste. You can sell them at a flea market or through the Internet, or donate them to charity or recycling centres. In Finland, it is commonplace to buy second-hand (used) goods, and it is easy to find good-quality used articles.
How to sort your waste?
Sort waste according to its material.
Do not flush rubbish, food or unneeded chemicals down the toilet. Always take hazardous waste to a proper collection point.
Not all housing companies provide all of the necessary recycling containers. You are not allowed to take your rubbish to another housing company's waste containers. Do not bring rubbish from elsewhere – for example, from your company – to the housing company's waste containers.
You can find the location of shared recycling points at the kierratys.info website.
Most housing companies provide the following sorting containers
YES: food waste, including food that has gone bad, coffee grounds, kitchen paper, fruit peels etc.
NO: chemicals, glass, metals, cat litter
Biowaste is processed into compost. Some municipalities first extract biogas from biowaste, which is then converted into heat and electricity.
YES: newspapers and magazines, advertisement flyers, envelopes etc.
NO: wet or very dirty paper, books, gift wrapping paper, cartons, cardboard
Recycled paper is used to make newspapers or toilet paper.
YES: milk cartons, cardboard, paper bags, carton packages
NO: wet or very dirty cardboard, gift wrapping paper
Recycled carton is used to make kitchen paper rolls, for example. The aluminium in carton packages is also recycled.
YES: glass containers (bottles and jars)
NO: glass objects, glassware, mirrors, porcelain, bottle caps, jar lids
Recycled glass is used to make new glass containers.
YES: metal items and packages whose main material is metal
NO: electrical devices, batteries, large metal objects that do not fit in the collection container
Different metals are machine sorted and used as material for new products.
YES: empty plastic food packaging, empty detergent and shampoo bottles, plastic bags, empty plastic container
NO: PVC packaging marked 03, packaging with hazardous waste residue, such as paint or chemicals, plastic objects, toys, toothbrushes, watering cans, etc.
Recycled plastic packages are used to make new plastic products.
Mixed waste (Sekajäte) or miscellaneous waste
YES: All waste that you cannot or do not want to sort.
NO: hazardous waste
Mixed waste is usually burned in a waste-to-energy plant, in other words, it is turned into heat and electricity.
Other collection points
Hazardous waste (Vaarallinen jäte)
YES: batteries, accumulators, paints, adhesives, fluorescent lamps, energy-saving light bulbs, chemicals whose packages have a warning symbol
WHERE: to a hazardous waste collection point, see the kierratys.info website
YES: small and large household batteries, mobile phone batteries
WHERE: to red battery collection containers that you can find in stores and kiosks
The metal from batteries is recycled and all hazardous materials are processed safely.
Electrical equipment (Sähkölaitteet) and electronics (Elektroniikka)
YES: all electric or battery-powered devices and toys
WHERE: small devices to stores that sell electronics, big devices to electronic waste collection points, see the kierratys.info website.
The metals from electrical equipment (such as gold) are recycled.
Returning bottles and cans
You should return empty beverage bottles and aluminium cans to the grocery store’s bottle return machine. You will get money for most bottles and cans. Return bottles with the cap on.
The bottles and the metal of beverage cans can be reused. In Finland, people return over 90% of beverage packages.
How to reduce the amount of waste?
- Freeze excess food. Store food correctly.
- Drink tap water, it is good and safe in Finland.
- Only buy items that you really need.
- Buy durable items. You can earn some money by selling them later.
- Buy and sell used goods.
- Take good care of your goods and store them according to the instructions.