Waste management regulations

The waste management regulations of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and Kirkkonummi apply to all residents of Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa, as well as Kirkkonummi, and other operators involved in waste management organized by HSY.

They include the requirements for the types of waste to be sorted and collected separately and collection equipment, collection facilities, waste points and waste transport and collection, for example.

On 18 January 2019, HSY's Board of Directors approved new waste management regulations that entered into force on 1 March 2019. An exception are the new waste sorting obligations which will enter into force after a transition period 1.1.2021. Concerning these obligations, the waste management regulations issued on July 1, 2012 will be followed. New waste collection schedules enter into force on 19 August, permitting the emptying of waste containers between 6 AM and 10 PM, Monday through Friday. In central Helsinki, waste collection can start at 5 AM.

Waste management regulations as of 1 March 2019 » (in Finnish)

Justification memo (pdf, in Finnish)


Waste sorting obligations in a nutshell

Separate collection of different types of waste must be arranged on the property as follows:

To the end of 2020 waste is collected at the property ​Beginning 1.1.2021 waste is collected at the property​ ​
Waste​Residential property​Other property​Residential property​Other property
​Mixed waste​always​alwaysalways​always​
​Biowaste​10 apartments​50 kg / week5 apartments​25 kg / week
​Carton packages and cardboard​10 apartments​50 kg / week; cardboard separately if it accumulates over 50 kg / week​5 apartments​​25 kg / week
​Glass packages​20 apartments​50 kg / week​5 apartments​​25 kg / week
​Small metal items​20 apartments​50 kg / week​5 apartments​​25 kg / week
​Plastic packages​voluntary​voluntary​​5 apartments​​15 kg / week
​Paper​in accordance with the Waste Act​in accordance with the Waste Act​in accordance with the Waste Act​in accordance with the Waste Act

Smaller properties may also join to the collection of biowaste, small metal items or carton, glass or plastic packages, depending, among other things, on the location of the property.   Cardboard will be collected together with carton packaging from March 2019 onwards. Inquiries: jate.kuljetuspalaute(at)hsy.fi

Sorting instructions »


The renewal of the waste management regulations in 2019

The waste management regulations were renewed in 2019 to respond to the national recycling goals set by the Finnish government and the EU.

How did the renewal process go?

  • HSY prepared the renewal of the waste management regulations.
  • HSY Board decided on earmarking the possibilities to influence.
  • The announcement kicked off the circulation of the proposal for comments.
  • Residents and other players gave their opinion on the proposal.
  • HSY revised the proposal according to the collected feedback.
  • HSY Board accepted the new regulations.
  • The second stage announcement informed about the made decision.
  • The regulations came into effect, except separately announced transitional periods for new sorting obligations.

What has changed?


Recycling is made easier for the residents now that the collection containers are located nearby

  • Biowaste, plastic, glass and carton packages and small metal items are collected separately from individual housing properties if these include at least five apartments.
  • A new addition to the old regulations is the collection of plastic packages. At the moment, the collection on properties is voluntary.
  • These changes enter into force after a transition period on 1 January, 2021.
  • Additionally, the biowaste container can be emptied at one or two week intervals depending on how much biowaste is produced on the property. Earlier, the practice was to empty the biowaste bin weekly.

Emptying the waste containers outside of rush hours will improve road safety

  • Emptying of waste containers can begin at six o'clock in the morning and continue until 22.00, Monday through Friday.  In central Helsinki, the emptying can start at 5 o'clock in the morning. Earlier, the emptying times were 7.00–21.00. The former emptying schedule will remain unchanged on Saturdays and Sundays.

Cesspits and septic tanks must be emptied at least once a year

  • Wastewater sludge collected in septic tanks or cesspits must be emptied when it is necessary, but at least once a year. The regulation does not concern closed tanks which must be emptied on demand and often enough.

A composter for household purposes does not need to be thermally insulated

  • If the property consists of more than five apartments, composting of food waste on property must be reported. Earlier, a notification was also required from smaller properties.

New names for following waste types: glass packages, carton packages and small metal items

  • The new names are glass packages, carton packagesa and small metal items. The former names were glass, carton and metal.
  • The colour of the collection container for small metal items will be changed to black, formerly it was blue. The container colour for glass packages will remain blue.

More information on waste sorting and recycling will be provided for residents of housing properties

  • It is also expected that the representatives of properties inform the inhabitants on waste sorting.

Benefits to the residents and environment


Smoothly running services for residents

  • Most residents are ready to sort their waste more carefully if the waste containers are located on the premises of their own housing company or at least near their homes. This became evident in the survey commissioned by HSY in 2017.
  • Especially on those properties, which include 5–9 dwelling units, the collection containers are better accessible for the residents.
  • The new collection times will facilitate the emptying of bins as the waste collection vehicles can operate during such hours when there is less traffic. This will reduce traffic jams and thus also emissions from traffic. The safety of residents, passers-by and drivers of waste collection vehicles will also be improved.

New measures will help to achieve the recycling goals

  • HSY’s goal is to recycle 60 per cent of domestic waste by 2025. The national waste plan set a recycling goal for municipal solid waste at 55 per cent by 2023. At the moment, waste generated by households achieved the recycling rate of ca. 48 per cent in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
  • Metal items or glass packages, which have been disposed of among mixed waste, cannot be burnt in the waste-to-energy plant. The energy recovery from mixed waste generates less slag if non-combustible materials are removed from mixed waste already at source.

FAQs


What kind of changes should be made to the waste management of a property with over five apartments?

  • Biowaste, plastic, glass and carton packages, and small metal items are separately collected on a property which includes at least five apartments. A new addition to the old regulations is the collection of plastic packages.
  • The emptying of waste containers can start already at six o'clock in the morning and it can continue until 22.00 in the evening, Monday through Friday.  In central Helsinki, the emptying can start at 5 o'clock in the morning. Formerly, the allowed emptying time was 7–21.
  • Depending on the amount of biowaste collected on the property, it is possible to order the emptying of the biowaste container either at one or two week intervals. According to the former regulations, the biowaste container had to be emptied every week.

What kind of changes should be made to the waste management of a one-family house (and other properties with less than 5 apartments)?

  • If the property consists of five or more apartments, composting of food waste on the property must be reported. Composting must be reported if a reduced emptying frequency of mixed waste containers is requested.
  • A composter for household purposes does not need to be thermally insulated.
  • Wastewater sludge collected in septic tanks or cesspits must be emptied at least once a year. This regulation does not apply to closed tanks.
  • As for the private roads, the road keeper, i.e. the party which has built or owns the road and now maintains it, has always the responsibility for the road’s durability and performance and of possible damages to the road.
  • The emptying of waste containers can start already at six o'clock in the morning and it can continue until 22.00 in the evening, Monday through Friday.  In central Helsinki, the emptying can start at 5 o'clock in the morning. Formerly, the allowed emptying time was 7–21.
  • Depending on the amount of biowaste collected on the property, it is possible to order the emptying of the biowaste container either at one or two week intervals. According to the former regulations, the biowaste container had to be emptied every week.

What kind of changes should be made to the waste management of a holiday home?

  • The Waste Act obliges a holiday home to join the waste management organised by HSY. The waste collection can be organised either by using one’s own waste container or a jointly owned container (joint use of a waste container). If there is no road to the property, the property can join a regional mixed waste collection point as a customer.

How can all new containers be fitted in the waste collection facility of the housing property?

The new sorting regulations come into effect after a transitional period on 1 January, 2021.

If the new waste containers cannot be fitted in the present facility, the housing property can expand the facility. The waste containers can also be located in the yard or they can be moved into a fire-proof container shed or near a wall. Please pay attention to the recommendations and regulations of your own municipality’s Building Control Department for a container facility and setting it up.

It is recommended that a housing property checks the number of mixed waste containers and their emptying frequency. The increasing sorting degree reduces the amount of mixed waste, in which case some of mixed waste containers can perhaps be removed and thus save space in the container facility.

The housing properties can also make an agreement on a joint waste collection with their neighbouring property, in which case the collection containers are jointly used. The manufacturer of deep collection containers can also offer other alternatives, such as dividing the container for two or more waste types.

Will the change increase the waste collection invoice for the housing properties?

The new sorting regulations come into effect after a transitional period on 1 January, 2021. HSY is launching the price structure reform so that it spurs the residents on properties of various sizes to sort their waste. The change will either increase or decrease the total price on properties of different sizes. The final effect will be dependent on the new price list which is under way.

Why will the residents have more obligations? Waste sorting is hard because the instructions are too complicated

We respond with this reform to the national recycling goals set by the EU and Finland. To achieve the goals also requires more efficient sorting of waste on properties, in which case we can reuse a larger part of collected waste as material. Along with the reform, the waste sorting will become easier when more and more properties provide waste containers for different waste types and there will be no need any more to transport waste to regional recycling points or other reception stations.

Our Web pages provide sorting instructions for different waste types: hsy.fi/sorting. On the same page, you’ll find our electronic waste guide. Type the name of the waste into the search field and the waste guide tells you where to dispose of your waste. We hope this makes the waste sorting easier and there is no need to know the sorting instructions by heart.

What does it mean that the representative of a housing property must inform and guide residents in waste sorting issues?

HSY provides instructions, campaigns and materials extensively through different channels and also personal guidance. The property manager, chairman of the housing company or a resident activist can get closer to an individual resident and knows better the actual waste sorting situation and what exactly should be improved. The new obligation ensures that the residents will get support and information on sorting their waste. The property representative can fulfil this obligation by providing the residents with the free-of-charge information produced by HSY.

Why does the sorting obligation apply only to plastic packages and not to other plastic materials?

The largest part of households' daily plastic waste is packages. We will improve the sorting possibilities of plastic packages in order to achieve both the EU's and the Finnish national recycling goals.

Other plastics can be disposed of among mixed waste. We transport mixed waste to the waste-to-energy plant where it is turned into district heat and electricity.

The collection and recycling of packages is the responsibility of companies which package products in Finland or import them. We will complement the package recycling and deliver the packages to the reception stations organised by the above mentioned parties.

Will the biowaste container cause odours during hot weather if it is emptied only every two weeks?

The emptying frequency can be changed according to the need s of individual properties. If there is a need for emptying the biowaste container more frequently, you can always order an extra emptying. We will charge for an extra emptying according to our price list.

Odours can be controlled and reduced by packing the biowaste in a decomposable package. Pour liquids from food scraps down the drain and let wet waste dry a little bit before putting it into a bio-waste bag.

Our housing company includes five apartments. Should we order a collection service for biowaste if we compost our biowaste?

The separate collection of biowaste does not apply to such a property where the produced biowaste is composted on that property. However, composting of biowaste must be reported.

Can we use a joint composter with our neighbour?

A composter can also be jointly used with several other properties or apartments located nearby. A written report on composting must be sent to HSY if

  • the properties do not join the biowaste collection when starting composting
  • the property which participates in a joint composter seeks to lengthen the emptying frequency of their mixed waste container to eight weeks.