Why you cannot put anything else than only packages into the collection container for plastic packages?
Companies packaging products in plastic packages or companies importing plastic packages into Finland are obligated by the Decree on Packaging and Packaging Waste (518/2014). Companies must organise material utilisation, i.e. recycling of used plastic packages. Companies represented by the producers’ association called The Finnish Plastic Recycling Ltd.
The largest part of households' daily plastic waste is packages. Other plastics can be disposed of among mixed waste. We transport mixed waste to Vantaa Energy’s waste-to-energy plant where it is turned into district heat and electricity. We don’t take mixed waste generated by households to the landfill.
I heard that not all plastic packages can be recycled. Why can I still dispose them of in the collection?
Our instructions follow the recycling policy of the respective producers association: if you wish to dispose of a plastic package, it is perfectly ok to put it in a collection container. There are only two exceptions; PVC plastic packages and packages containing residues of hazardous substances. In other words, the aim is to keep the sorting instructions as simple as possible.
However, it is true that, for the moment, not all plastics can be recycled and turned into new plastics either for technical or economical reasons. There are many different kinds of plastic qualities and their compounds. Some plastic packages contain other materials than just plastic. Below are some examples of plastic packages which cannot be currently recycled and remould into new plastics:
- Styrofoam packages: crumbles during the treatment process and cannot be recycled for the time being
- Black plastic packages: optical sorting which is used in the treatment facilities is not able to recognise the quality of black plastics
- Aluminium lined plastic packages (for example, coffee packs, potato chip bags) different materials cannot be separated from each other
- Biodegradable plastic bags: not suitable for recycling because they have been manufactured as easily degradable.
It is not forbidden to sort these kinds of plastic packages into the plastic collection but they will end up amongst the combustible reject at the treatment plant. Therefore you can also directly put these packages into the mixed waste container, in which case they will end up straight into ener-gy production. We transport mixed waste to the waste-to-energy plant where it is turned into district heat and electricity.
What is made out of plastic packages?
Plastic packages are collected and turned into raw
materials for new plastic products. This is how materials can be kept in the cycle, as a part of the circular economy. Collected plastic packages are turned, for instance, into plastic bags, flowerpots and buckets.
The producer association called Suomen Uusiomuovi Oy, i.e. Finnish Plastics Recycling Ltd, is in charge of utilising plastics as material. This producer association represents companies which pack or import plastic packages into Finland. The Finnish
Plastic Recycling Ltd has signed an agreement with Ekokem Corp. about plastic
recycling at Plastic Refinery. Its products includes granulates, i.e. grains, for the use of the plastic industry.
put Styrofoam packages into the plastic package collection?
dispose of Styrofoam packages, in other words, Styrox packages, cellular or
cell foam plastics, also known as EPS plastic, expanded polystyrene, in the
plastic package collection container.
As of yet,
Styrox packages cannot be utilised as material. Styrox packages crumble easily
in the treatment process and therefore are not suitable for recycling. You can
also sort these kinds of packages into the mixed waste container. We transport
mixed waste to the waste-to-energy plant where it is turned into district heat
do with packages which contain other materials than just plastic?
Different parts of some packages cannot be detached from each other. You have to sort them according to that material which forms half of the package weight.
If different parts
of the package can be easily detached from each other, you can sort different
materials separately. For example, some plastic yoghurt and quark packages come
with a printed carton wrapping which can be detached and sorted into the carton
waste container. The foil cover, however, should be put into the metal
coffee bags are usually made of plastic although they can have an aluminium
lining. These kinds of packages, made of mixed materials but mostly of plastic,
can also be disposed of in the collection container for plastic packages.
packages which contain other materials than just plastic cannot be utilised, as
a rule, as raw material for new plastic products. They will be used for energy
cases, throw the package in mixed waste. We transport mixed waste to the
waste-to-energy plant where it is turned into district heat and electricity.
cardboard packages with a transparent plastic window should be disposed of in
the carton waste collection. The plastic lid of a carton container for liquids
can be placed in the carton waste collection, plastic package collection or
amongst mixed waste.
have to wash up the plastic package waste?
packages must be empty, and not very dirty packages should be thrown into the
collection container. For instance, food remains can become mouldy and cause
odours during the storage time of plastic packages. However, it is not worth washing
waste items as it isn’t a smart action environmentally. For instance, a shampoo
bottle is clean enough if you just rinse it with a little bit of water. It is
enough just to wipe a grease-stained plastic package, like a butter tub, with a
piece of paper.
As a rule of thumb: such kind of cleanliness which allows the plastic packages to be stored at home, before disposing of it in the collection container.
package or a package which is very difficult to clean can always be thrown into
the mixed waste container. It will be utilised for district heat and electricity
generation in Vantaa Energy's waste-to-energy plant.
Do I have to detach all caps and lids?
Caps, lids and the like must be detached whenever it is possible. For example, soup bags or cold cut packages basically consist of a tub with a peelable foil lid. These should be detached from each other. All other detachable plastic parts, such as the pumping mechanism in detergent or soap bottles, should be sorted separately.
In the recycling process, an optic device sorts plastic packages according to their plastic material. Caps and lids are often made of a different kind of plastic than the rest of the package. The scanner identifies what sort of plastic material it is from the largest part of the package. If the cap is still attached to the bottle, the bottle will end up in the wrong sort of plastic group and this will reduce the recyclability.
Can I put plastic packages inside each other?
Packages made of different plastics cannot be put inside each other. The optic reader in the recycling process identifies just the outermost packages and other plastics inside it will end up in the wrong group. Similar kinds of plastics or packages of the same sign can be put, however, inside each other if it is sure that the quality of their plastic is the same in all packages.
Plastic packages can be thrown into the collection container in a plastic bag because the bag shredder at the treatment facility rips open all plastic bags before any further treatment.
Can I throw bio-degradable packages into the waste collection bin?
Yes, but the bio-degradable packages end up in energy recovery at the recycling facility for plastic packages.
don’t all recycling points have a container for plastic packages?
on Packaging and Packaging Waste (518/2014) provides that there are at least
500 regional collection points for plastic packaging available for inhabitants
in Finland. The responsibility of organising the collection points lies with
the Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd. At present, the HSY catchment area
provides the number of collection points required by the Decree on Packaging
and Packaging Waste. Properties have no obligation to organise plastic package