Consumers can return carton and paperboard packaging to 1,900 recovery points. The recovery network extends to 4.9 million Finns of all 5.4 million inhabitants. All of the fibre-based packaging, which is collected from consumers, is used as a recycled material.
It is not sensible to collect used packaging in sparsely populated areas, where only a very small amount of packaging is accumulated or recycling plants are too far away. In such conditions, the environmental load of transports would outweigh the advantages gained from recycling. This is why the Government proposal for a new Waste Act also requires the planning of new waste-collection points to consider the environmental impact of transports.
Waste legislation should favour products that are made of renewable raw materials
Paper, paperboard and wood are the only renewable raw materials used to make packaging. This makes it important to ensure that Finland’s Waste Act, which is currently being revised, strengthens the position of packaging that is made out of these materials.
When setting recycling and producer-responsibility obligations for packaging products it is important to remember that fibre-based, glass, metal and plastic packaging are in many consumer products substitutes for one another – this means that price often determines, which packaging material alternative is selected.
Fibre-based packaging must not be the target of recycling obligations, which are stricter than those imposed on other packaging materials, because this would erode the competitive position of fibre-based materials by increasing the cost of using them.
The existing recovery network for fibre-based packaging is sufficient. The costs of carton and paperboard packaging, for example, should not be added to by imposing requirements for consumer collection that are oversized from the environmental perspective. Recycling must yield benefits, which are greater than the environmental impacts it causes.
Fibre-based packaging is good for the environment
Paper, paperboard and wood are, from the environmental perspective, superior packaging material alternatives and accordingly account for two-thirds of all packaging used in Finland. Fibre-based packages are made using a renewable raw material, can be recycled and, after an appropriate number of recycling rounds, utilised in the generation of bioenergy.
For addition information, please contact:
Tiina Vuoristo, Senior Adviser, Environment,
tel. +358 9 132 6624, +358 40 542 5365