5 questions about the merger of existing producer organisations

One packaging producer organisation will shortly be liable for the obligations of all producers of packaging materials. What is the current situation with the merger of producer organisations and what will the change mean for companies with producer responsibility? Heli Tammivuori, who chairs the Board of Finnish Packaging Producers Ltd, provided answers to the questions.

By Heli Satuli

1. Suomen Pakkaustuottajat Oy (SPT Finnish Packaging Producers Ltd) was founded in August 2021 as the new producer organisation to deal with all packaging materials. What’s happened since then?

There’s been a lot of interesting work and building the new organisation. A small core team, composed of people from existing producer organisations and Rinki’s representative, has been working intensively to keep the merger project on track. We’ve done everything in addition to our own work, while taking care of the operational activities of the existing producer organisations.

Since the new company was founded, we made a start on getting the company’s key internal documentation done and approved. Documentation included the shareholder agreement, and rules and policies for the material sections. Next in line was to work on the process to merge the merging companies Mepak-Kierrätys Oy, Puupakkausten Kierrätys PPK Oy and Suomen Kuitukierrätys Oy.

In December, we entered into an agreement with the Finnish Association of Finnish Municipalities and KIVO, which represents municipal waste management authorities, on cooperation on the separate collection of packaging waste from properties starting in 2023 and the compensation payable to the municipalities. The biggest challenge has been the uncertainty concerning the merger of the plastics producer organisation, Finnish Plastics Recycling

2. Preparing the application to the Centre For Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Pirkanmaa for acceptance into the producer register has been a major undertaking for SPT. What’s the situation?

The situation is good: in mid-May, SPT submitted its application to the Centre For Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Pirkanmaa to have the company accepted into the producer register. This was a major step. We needed to complete the application in good time ahead of the deadline at the end of June. It’s essential for us to ensure the continuity of producer responsibility obligations during the merger process.

We were in regular contact with the authority when we completed the application. We wanted to ensure that our application was prepared as well as possible, informatively and in compliance with statutory requirements. Registration of the new company must be completed before the operations of the existing producer organisations can be transferred to it. Completion of the registration process depends on the authorities.

3. Finnish Plastics Recycling Ltd has decided to become an independent producer organisation. What does this decision mean in practice?

At least two packaging producer organisations are being set up in Finland. Both producer organisations are required to register in the producer register. SPT will organise the collection and recycling of plastic and other packaging waste of the companies that join it.

We aim to work with Finnish Plastics Recycling Ltd on a collection network to ensure optimum cost effective collection. Both producer organisations will organise the collection of packaging waste independently. SPT is currently in negotiations about the organisation and resourcing of recycling services.

Going forward, a company with producer responsibility can choose between two producer organisations.

For now, companies with producer responsibility need take no action.

4. What will change from the perspective of companies with producer responsibility for packaging?

Going forward, companies with producer responsibility will be able to choose which producer organisation they wish to be a customer of.

For now, companies with producer responsibility need take no action.

We believe that companies will choose their producer organisation based on its reliability, competence and costs, in other words which producer organisation manages its statutory producer obligations responsibly and cost effectively. SPT is owned by producers, which means packaging producers can be sure that SPT always acts for the benefit of the producer.

5. What needs to be done before SPT can begin as an official producer organisation?

We will continue the merger project and building SPT as planned. Once we get producer organisation status from the Centre For Economic Development, Transport and the Environment for Pirkanmaa, we will implement reorganisation, following which SPT can begin as a producer organisation.

Recruitment of SPT’s managing director is underway and the company is otherwise strengthening its organisation. We will also continue to put together the material sections. The plastics section composed of representatives of SPT’s future customers has already started operations. Access to the viewpoints and expertise of companies with producer responsibility has been really valuable for our project.

The questions were answered by Heli Tammivuori, who chairs the Board of Finnish Packaging Producers Ltd.

Read more:

“A small entry in the law, but a big change in practice” – The merger of the producer organisations is underway | Verkkolehti – Trustworthy information on packaging recycling and producer responsibility (rinkiin.fi)