Waste management regulations

Waste management regulations are provisions that specify legislation, such as the Waste Act and the Waste Decree. The regulations concern, for example, the sorting, collection, and transport of waste as well as the prevention of littering.  The waste management regulations for the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and Kirkkonummi apply to all residents of Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen, Vantaa and Kirkkonummi, as well as other operators within the scope of the waste management organised by HSY.

The Board of Directors of HSY approved the new waste management regulations in its meeting on 23 September 2022. The new regulations officially entered into force on 1 November 2022, with the exception of transition periods for the new sorting obligations for biowaste, announced separately.

Sorting opportunities for residents will improve: biowaste sorting will be expanded to properties with 1−4 households

  • Once in force, the waste management regulations require sorting of biowaste from residential properties of all sizes. Thus, the sorting of biowaste is also expanded to properties with 1–4 households. In holiday homes, separate collection of biowaste is not required. 
  • Independent composting in a composter compliant with the regulations is an alternative to separate collection of biowaste. In the future, composting will require submitting a composting notification to HSY.  
  • The revisions concerning the collection of biowaste will enter into force in stages: Espoo, Kauniainen and Kirkkonummi on 1 July 2023, Vantaa on 1 January 2024, and Helsinki on 1 July 2024. Residents do not need to react to the reform immediately, but we will inform them about the biowaste sorting reform by sending a customer letter to their homes.   
  • Justification for the change: the amended Waste Decree requires expanding the separate collection of biowaste. On the basis of the life-cycle study commissioned by HSY, compared to the current situation, the emission reductions achieved through biowaste recycling would surpass the emissions produced by waste collection and treatment. Sorting biowaste is important: it is the only way to both produce renewable domestic energy and to recycle nutrients to be used as fertilisers.


Caption: Previously, it sufficed that small properties collected mixed waste. The new waste management regulations require all residential properties to collect (or compost) biowaste separately in the future. 

Options for sorting biowaste for properties with 1−4 households:  

  1. A regular 140 l biowaste container (with 1- and 2-week emptying cycle) 
  2. A ventilated 140 l biowaste container (with 4-week emptying cycle) 
  3. Independent composting of food waste in an appropriate composter (requires submitting a composting notification to HSY) 
  4. Shared use of biowaste containers between neighbouring properties

New services for small properties for biowaste collection to make sorting easy and inexpensive 

  • To support the waste management regulations, we are developing a range of services for small properties, such as new types of biowaste containers that make recycling easier.   
  • A ventilated biowaste container is better ventilated than a conventional waste container due to the ventilation openings and the false floor. This will keep the biowaste drier and more compact, and may also reduce odours. The longest collections cycle for a ventilated biowaste container is four weeks. A conventional biowaste container must be emptied every two weeks. The ventilated container is currently being tested by 250 residents. It will be included in HSY's range of services according to the phased schedule of separate collection of biowaste (Espoo, Kauniainen and Kirkkonummi 1 July 2023, Vantaa 1 January 2024, and Helsinki 1 June 2024). 
  • The composter to be emptied into the refuse truck, when needed is a completely new kind of composter rented from HSY, which can be emptied into the biowaste truck upon request. The container is currently being tested and, if it proves functional, it will be included in HSY's range of services in autumn 2023 at the earliest. 


  • In detached houses, the most typical size of a mixed waste container is 240 l and the collection frequency is once every two weeks, so the annual cost of the rental bin is approximately EUR 252 (according to the 2023 price list).  
  • After the revision: if a ventilated biowaste container is chosen, the collection frequency can be once every four weeks. Emptying a mixed waste container and a ventilated biowaste container every four weeks means a total annual cost of approximately EUR 202 (according to the 2023 price list).


Caption: Small properties can also organise the collection of mixed or biowaste together with their neighbours, and choose the most suitable biowaste sorting option. The new Waste Act requires submitting a composting notification of the composting of biowaste to HSY

More flexible possibilities to get a service package suited to the volume of waste generated by the property

The volume of mixed waste is reduced by active sorting of biowaste and packaging waste. A property can have their mixed waste collected only once every 16 weeks when residents sort: 

  • biowaste (for separate collection or own composting), and   
  • carton, glass and plastic packaging waste and small metal waste (each to its own container, multi-compartment container or for the Rinki eco take-back point)    
  • and when the volume of mixed waste generated is small.

In addition, neighbours living in adjacent properties may continue to use a shared waste container location and share the containers, if the owners of the property have so agreed. The agreement of shared use may cover any type of waste. The agreement of shared use of waste containers allows the participating neighbouring properties to share the costs between them. It should be noted that the waste containers must be located on a property plot.

HSY must be notified of biowaste composting 

  • The new Waste Decree requires that all properties that compost biowaste must submit a notification of it to the compost register controller (HSY in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and Kirkkonummi). 
  • The obligation to submit a notification of biowaste composting applies to all properties covered by HSY-organised waste management, including holiday homes, allotment gardens and small boat harbours.  
  • A notification is not necessary when composting garden waste only. 
  • We will inform properties composting biowaste separately about submitting the composting notification by sending them a customer letter.
  • Justification: The Waste Act requires the waste management authority to maintain a compost register. The data collected in the register is used to estimate the amount of biowaste recycled per property in Finland, which is taken into account when calculating the recycling rate in Finland required by the EU directives. The purpose of the notifications is to make the share of composting visible in the national calculation of the recycling rate as well.

In the future, the manually movable waste containers owned by the property will be replaced with waste containers owned by HSY  

  • Property owners will no longer need to acquire new, manually movable waste containers of their own when the old one breaks down or comes to the end of its life cycle. According to the new regulations, the property's own, conventional, wheeled and manually movable waste containers would in future be replaced by containers owned by HSY, meaning that the residents would no longer need to worry about their condition.
  • Currently, some of the waste containers are owned by the property. The waste container rent is included in the waste service fees, so the new practice is easy and effortless for the residents. 
  • Justification: the occupational safety when emptying the waste containers will be improved and the obligations of the residents will be lightened as everyone gradually begins to use containers rented from HSY. The new types of waste containers are best suited for mechanical emptying, and residents will not need to worry about replacing broken containers in the future.

How will the revision proceed?

  • HSY prepared a proposal for new waste management regulations, which were approved by the Board of Directors of HSY on 29 April 2022 
  • HSY reserved the opportunity for the owners of residential properties, residents and other parties that may be affected by the decision on the matter to express their opinion. Residents and various actors were given a chance to express their views on the proposal 
  • The official consultation round and online survey were organised between 3 May and 17 June 2022. The summary of opinions can be found in the explanatory memorandum. The online survey was responded to by 782 residents or property managers 
  • HSY processed the opinions given and revised the proposal based on the feedback received   
  • The Board of Directors of HSY approved the new regulations on 23 September 2022  
  • The new regulations officially entered into force on 1 November 2022, with the exception of transition periods for the new sorting obligations for biowaste, announced separately. 
  • Residents of small properties (with 1–4 households) do not need to react to the reform immediately, but we will inform them about the biowaste sorting reform by customer letters sent to their homes as follows:  
    • November 2022: Espoo, Kauniainen and Kirkkonummi 
    • Spring 2023: Vantaa 
    • Autumn 2023: Helsinki 
  • The revisions concerning the separate collection of biowaste will enter into force in stages: Espoo, Kauniainen and Kirkkonummi on 1 July 2023, Vantaa on 1 January 2024, and Helsinki on 1 July 2024.