Finland has an effective recycling system for fibre packaging

Recyclable fibre packaging products manufactured from renewable raw materials are effectively recycled in Finland. The country has, despite its low population density, achieved an excellent rate of recovery and recycling for packaging.

Finland’s packaging and packaging waste legislation is being reviewed and the new requirements came into effect on 1 May 2014. So-called full producer responsibility was implemented, which means that packagers and importers of packaged products must also participate in the cost of collecting and recycling consumer packaging. Furthermore, it is likely that recycling obligations will be made more stringent.

The recycling of fibre packaging works well in Finland – additional recovery target must be eliminated

Fibre packaging includes corrugated board packaging, industrial fibre packaging (cores, sacks and wrappings), liquid packaging (e.g. milk and juice cartons) as well as paperboard packaging (e.g. biscuit and cereal boxes). In Finland, the recycling rate of fibre packaging has been over 80 per cent since 2005. The high recycling rate is largely due to the forest industry, which utilises recycled fibre.

In Finland, two producer associations, Suomen Kuitukierrätys Oy and Suomen Teollisuuskuitu Oy, manage fibre packaging-related producer responsibilities, that is, packaging waste recycling, reuse and related communications.

The national legislation is based on the EU Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste, which specifies requirements for packaging and their reusability. The Commission published an EU Circular Economy Package in December 2015. The proposal for a new Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste is a part of the Circular Economy Package. According to the Commission’s proposal, the recycling target of fibre packaging would be increased to 85 per cent by 2030. The Directive on Packaging Waste is also likely to establish extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes. Responsibility schemes may be a good idea if they remain at a general level as recommendations and instructions. The producer responsibility in Finland currently works well and does not require more regulation. It must remain possible for producer communities to affect the costs of waste falling within the scope of producer responsibility, and no requirements should be established to the producers concerning, for instance, the litter caused by the products.