90% of consumers think recycling plastic packaging is important

Finland is a long way from achieving the recycling targets for plastic packaging. The EU’s goal is for at least half of all plastic packaging to be recycled as of next year. The recycling rate is currently only about 30% in Finland. Rinki’s consumer campaign aimed to push Finnish consumers towards the target.

By Helmi Partanen

Kuva Henri Juvonen

“This was the first time that one packaging material, plastic, was made the focus of Rinki’s campaign to boost recycling efforts. The reason for this is clear: Finnish people need to sort their plastic packaging much more diligently than they do so that we can achieve the target,” says Rinki’s CEO Juha-Heikki Tanskanen. Approximately 30% of plastic packaging is currently recycled in Finland, while the target for 2025 is a 50% recycling rate.

Rinki’s campaign was built around the Kyylä (‘Snooper’) video. The video showed how plastic packaging travels from the collection container to the recycling plant and into a new product. The video was shown on various platforms, including TV, cinemas and social media channels.

A survey was commissioned to accompany the campaign, which showed that as many as 90% of consumers think that recycling plastics is important. “The result is familiar from previous surveys. Attitudes towards recycling are very positive, and almost everyone says that they recycle their plastic packaging. Yet, fewer than four out of ten plastic packages are sorted and put into containers for plastics. This is not enough for us to achieve the goal,” says Tanskanen. He points out that the goal is achievable as households now recycle more eagerly. All we have to do is sort more plastic packaging correctly and not put it into the mixed waste bin.

The campaign made people laugh and provoked them into sorting their plastic packaging

According to the survey, the campaign increased consumers’ desire to sort their plastic packaging, and 86% of consumers found this year’s Rinki campaign funny. They thought that the recognisable neighbourhood snooper and his absurd sorting instructions were hilarious. The campaign was not just comical, it also provided consumers with new information. Respondents remembered facts such as the recycling rate for plastic packaging in Finland, which should be doubled. Many respondents said that the humorous approach helped them to remember the campaign content.

“Many organisations want to create humorous campaigns, but being funny is hard work. We are really pleased that we managed to combine facts with entertainment,” says Rinki’s Communications Manager Heli Satuli.

However, the best result for Satuli is that the campaign lowered the threshold for sorting. Sorting plastic packaging is not difficult, although it is sometimes seen as such. People are especially unsure about what kind of packaging goes into plastic packaging collection and how clean the packaging needs to be.

“The campaign video reminded consumers that sorting plastic packaging is not difficult and that it’s more important to sort and recycle at all than getting it 100% right,” says Satuli.

The volume of plastic packaging is growing steadily and the pace needs to be accelerated

Nearly 70% of respondents said that the campaign increased their willingness to recycle plastic packaging. The volume of sorted plastic packaging has increased steadily but not quickly enough. Plastic packaging has been sorted in Finland since 2016.

“Rinki compiles annual statistics on packaging volumes. This year, we will have access to data that better describes Finnish people’s sorting habits, as our statistics will show not only packaging collected from our own ecopoints but also packaging collected directly from properties for the first time,” Tanskanen explains.

The impact of the spring campaign on the volumes of plastic packaging collected is difficult to estimate. Campaigning alone is not enough to raise the recycling rate for plastic packaging; it is also necessary to develop elements such as the recycling process so that an increasing proportion of plastic packaging can be recycled to be reused as raw material.

“Although it is difficult to assess the impact of an individual campaign, campaigning is still important: well-planned communications can significantly increase the volume of sorted packaging. There is already a comprehensive recycling network for plastic packaging in place, now it is essential to get people to use it,” says Tanskanen.

What is certain is that when it comes to sorting plastics, we must employ every means available and kick it up a notch.


Rinki’s consumer campaign 2024

  • Rinki’s consumer campaign was carried out in cooperation with the marketing agency Superson.
  • Campaign material was featured on TV, streaming services, radio, cinemas, public transport and social media.
  • A humorous informative video was at the heart of the campaign, with voice-over by Pirjo Heikkilä.