Waste statistics and recycling rates

Sorted biowaste and carton in a household waste container.

Amount of waste 

The Helsinki Metropolitan region and Kirkkonummi generated 632 000 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the year 2021. This is 507 kg per capita. MSW is household waste and similar waste from the service sector. 

Household waste produced in the Helsinki Metropolitan region amounted up to 344 000 tonnes, which is 277 kg per capita, in year 2021. This is approximately the same level than the previos year. 


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City spesific household waste statistics

  Region Helsinki Espoo Vantaa Kauniainen Kirkkonummi
kg per capita 277 273 266 288 284 348
recycling rate 47% 47% 48% 44% 48% 46%


Every other year we produce statistics of other waste streams than MSW waste in the region. Most of the waste generated in the region is land masses from construction, which amounted to 72 % of all the waste generated in the region in year 2020. Waste from the other sectors were as follows; building construction waste 9 %, household waste 6 %, private service sector 4 %, energy sector 4 %, industry 2 %, waste water management 2 % and other public sector 1 %. See waste produced by sector here (.xlsx).

Recycling rate

Of the household waste generated in the Helsinki Metropolitan region and Kirkkonummi, 47 % in recycled. The rest is incinerated with energy recovery. Household waste do no longer end up in landfills. The calculation of the recycling rate takes into account the rejects from the recycling processes. The goal is to increase the recycling of household waste. This would require more effective and better sorting of the waste where is it is generated, so that more waste goes to recycling, and less waste to incineration.

The recycling rate of all municipal solid waste was 53 % in 2021. Less than 1 % went to landfills or other, and rest was incinerated with energy recovery. The recycling rate of all MSW is higher than that of households due to better sorting of biowaste in the private service sector. 

Type of waste

Of the municipal solid waste is 41 % mixed waste. This means 208 kg per capita of mixed MSW. 

Half of the household waste consists of mixed waste, which makes 133 kg per capita. Most of this waste could have been sorted, a big part of the mixed waste consists of biowaste and plastics. The mixed waste is incinerated with energy recovery, whereas the sorted waste mostly is recycled as material. 

Municipal solid waste 2020 Municipal solid waste (t) Municipal solid waste (kg/capita) Household waste (t) Household waste (kg/capita)
Mixed waste 283000 229 169000 136
Bio waste 126000 102 39500 32
Carton 67000 54 16000 13
Paper 44000 35 39000 31
Glass 27000 22 18000 15
Metals 27000 22 18000 14
Wood 17000 14 6500 5
Plastics 15000 12 10000 8
Other 38000 30 30000 26
Total 644000 520 346000 280

Household mixed waste composition

A household mixed waste composition study in the Helsinki metropolitan area is carried out every three years. The results are published as open data (in Finnish).

Over a third of the mixed waste consists of biowaste. According to the study in 2021, some 40 % of the total amount of mixed waste was biowaste, when including soft tissue paper.The majority, 80 %, of the mixed waste could have been recycled if sorted.

Composition of the mixed waste from households in 2018.

Household mixed waste composition study in the Helsinki metropolitan area 2021 Household mixed waste composition study in the Helsinki metropolitan area 2021


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