Changes to recycling fees for packaging

The recycling fee for plastic packaging will increase next year. There will also be increased charges for wooden and fibre packaging. The recycling fees for metal packaging will decrease, while the fees for glass packaging will remain at their present level.
By Mari Valkonen Kuva Heli Nokkala

The recycling fees for plastic packaging will rise significantly in 2020.  While the recycling fee for consumer packaging was 30 euros per tonne for packaging producers in 2019, in 2020 it will be 119 euros per tonne. The recycling fee for plastic packaging used in trade between companies will increase from 35 euros to 54 euros per tonne.

The reason for the increase is that far more plastic packaging is being collected and recycled. Managing Director of Suomen Uusiomuovi Oy, Vesa Soini, says that the amount of plastic packaging collected from consumers has increased by 60% per year.

“As volumes collected go up, this increase is reflected in the recycling fees,” says Soini.

Surplus has lowered fees

The low recycling fees for plastic packaging in 2019 have been explained by the delay in the introduction of the collection system and lower costs than initially anticipated when the collection of plastic packaging from consumers started in 2016. This surplus recycling fee has been refunded to packaging producers in 2018-2019, and this has in turn kept the fees lower.

50% of plastic packaging will have to be recycled by 2025, in line with the EU directives

Soini believes that recycling fees for plastic packaging will continue to rise, as 50% of plastic packaging will have to be recycled by 2025, in line with the EU directives. At the moment, around 35% of plastic packaging is recycled in Finland.

Soini says that the recycling fee for plastic packaging in Sweden is between 300 and 400 euros per tonne, and the highest rate in the EU is 600 euros per tonne.

Producer fees for fibre and wooden packaging will also increase

The recycling fees for wooden packaging will also increase next year, though the increases will be quite small.

“Increases in recycling fees are implemented to balance the difference between the income and the costs of recycling. Recycling fees have not covered the cost of recycling over the past few years,” says Jukka Ala-Viikari, Managing Director of Puupakkausten Kierrätys PPK Oy.

Ala-Viikari considers it likely that recycling fees will continue to rise.

The recycling fee for fibre packaging will increase next year.

“The positive thing is that the cost per tonne for the collection will not increase. Collection and recycling volumes are increasing, leading to higher costs. The total usage volumes of fibre packaging – the tonnes that accrue recycling fees – are fairly stable, even slightly decreasing for some categories. This means that the recycling fees will have to be increased, except for industrial packaging,” says Juha-Pekka Salmi, Managing Director of Suomen Kuitukierrätys Oy.

According to Salmi, the short-term challenge is the efficiency of collection.

“We need to further improve the positioning and use of press machines, for example. As consumers, we can make a difference by sorting correctly, flattening our packaging and keeping eco take-back points clean and tidy.”

Fees for metal packaging will decrease,  fees for glass will remain at their present level

The recycling fees for metal packaging will decrease slightly next year.

“The income from metal has been better than estimated over the past few years, so the result for 2018 was positive. Although global metal prices are on a downward trend, some of the revenue from the previous year will be used to benefit the companies with producer responsibility by lowering recycling fees for 2020,” says Satu Estakari, Managing Director of Mepak-Kierrätys Oy.

The recycling fees for glass packaging will remain at the 2019 level.

”The recycling fees for glass have not been increased since 2016, which is a very positive thing. The collection of consumer packaging has continuously been streamlined, and the cost per tonne of collected packaging waste has been decreasing all the time,” says Sari Hedayet, representative of Suomen Keräyslasiyhdistys.

The recycling fees for glass packaging will remain at the 2019 level.

Rinki also manages the recycling of non-deposit glass packaging on behalf of Suomen Keräyslasiyhdistys. The recycling fee for non-deposit glass packaging was reduced in both 2018 and 2019.

“The board of Suomen Keräyslasiyhdistys has drawn up a long-term balance sheet plan to keep recycling fees for producers as low as possible. This will also reduce the association’s balance sheet. In the long run, there will also be pressure to increase the recycling fees for glass, but careful financial planning and active streamlining of collection and recycling operations will help keep the fees under control,” Hedayet believes.

Ambitious recycling targets behind the increases

Rinki’s minimum customer fee will drop from 295 euros to 265 euros, while the other fees will remain unchanged.

“The customer fee for the 2,500 companies that only use little packaging materials will be reduced by about ten percent. This is due to the fact that Rinki has managed to bring its costs down, and Rinki’s balance sheet will also be reduced,” says Juha-Heikki Tanskanen, CEO of Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd.

Tanskanen estimates that the recycling fees will increase from this year’s 16-17 million euros to about 24-25 million euros.

There has never been such a large increase in the fees, but during the previous reform of the Waste Act, increases were introduced. The new Waste Act, which implements the EU directives, is in the process of being amended and is due to enter into force in summer 2020.

“The EU has decided that packaging producers will have more responsibilities. The new requirements will enter into force over the next five years. As responsibilities increase, so do the fees, despite operations being efficient,” says Tanskanen.

Recycling fees for packaging 2020

Producer organisations in the packaging sector have determined their recycling fees, specific to the different packaging materials, for 2020.

Recycling fee *
MATERIAL GROUP MATERIAL 2019 2020
€/ton €/ton
FIBRE Corrugated cardboard packaging for consumers 9.00 9.50
Corrugated cardboard packaging for firms 9.00 9.50
Industrial wrapping and sacks 14.50 14.00
Industrial cores 14.50 14.00
Carton and paper packaging 47.00 49.50
Carton liquid packaging 96.00 105.00
PLASTIC Plastic packaging for consumers 30.00 119.00
Plastic packaging for firms 35.00 54.00
 

 

METAL

Aluminium packaging for consumers 130.00 126.00
Aluminium packaging for firms 28.00 26.00
Tinplate packaging for consumers 130.00 126.00
Tinplate packaging for firms 28.00 26.00
Steel packaging 28.00 26.00
GLASS Glass packaging (non-deposit) 98.00 98.00
WOOD FIN, EUR and EPAL pallets, rental pallets, cable reels 1.20 1.45
Other wooden pallets and other wooden packaging 1.60 1.90

*) Value added tax is added to the fees.

Packaging for consumers refers to product packaging that goes to consumers or households, such as sales packaging and certain grouped and transport packaging.

Packaging for companies refers to product packaging that is used only in trade between firms or for in-store product display.

The recycling fee payable by a company will be based on the material-specific price list and the tonnes of packaging it used previous year. The 2019 packaging data must be submitted to RINKI Ltd by 29 February 2020. Rinki will email a reminder of the packaging data declaration to companies in January.

If a company is invoiced a material-specific recycling fee of more than EUR 10,000, Rinki will invoice it in two equal instalments so that the second one is due four months after the first, but not later than October 2020.

Registration and customer fees in 2020

Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd’s Board of Directors has decided on Rinki’s registration and customer fees for 2020.

Fee type Fee * Unit
2019 2020
Customer fee 1.6 1.6 €/ton
Customer fee, minimum 295 265 €/year/contract
Customer fee, maximum 4 500 4 500 €/year/contract
Registration fee 0 0 €/company

*) Value added tax is added to the fees.

The customer fee invoicing will be based on the price list and the packaging quantities the company used the previous year. An annual minimum and maximum fee will be set for the customer fee invoicing (EUR/ton/contract).

Late declaration fee and estimate-based invoice for packaging data

According to the terms, companies must report to RINKI Ltd annually the packaging materials and quantities that it has used to pack its products and that it has placed on the market or imported together with its products. The 2019 packaging data must be submitted by 29 February 2020.

Reporting the packaging data is essential for the producer responsibility system to work as it directly affects the system’s financing, invoicing and operations. If a company submits the 2019 data after 29 February 2020, RINKI Ltd will collect a fee for the late declaration. The fee is EUR 200 (+VAT) for each delayed month or part thereof and it will be charged for a maximum of three months.

If the company has not submitted the 2019 packaging data by the end of May 2020, RINKI Ltd will invoice the late declaration fee and an estimate-based invoice. The invoice will be based on packaging data available to RINKI Ltd.