Decree places numbers on the table
According to a statement issued by the ministry, the decree will improve accessibility to take-back points for household fibre and plastic packaging in built-up areas. The number of take-back points for glass and metal packaging, on the other hand, may decrease while the journey to take-back points will increase especially in rural areas.
“However, producers will most likely locate take-back points close to public service and shopping centres, which will improve the service level of take-back for packaging waste and the quantity of collected packaging waste. Service level and take-back of packaging waste are significantly affected by the extent to which municipalities and other waste management operators supplement producer take-back with district and on-site collection,” the ministry announces in its statement.
Country-wide targets for the recovery and recycling of packaging will be made more stringent by the decree. In addition, binding recycling rate requirements will be imposed.
“The objective is to ensure the maintenance of packaging waste recycling in the transition phase at least at its present level and to promote ongoing growth in recycling and thus support the attainment of targets for the recycling of communal waste,” the statement continues.
Requirements on the number of take-back points
The decree states that producers should set up at least 1,850 take-back points for glass, metal and fibre packaging waste arising from households and there should be at least one take-back point in each built-up area with a population of at least 500 inhabitants.
There are about 480 such population centres with over 500 inhabitants on the Finnish mainland, accounting for 82 per cent of the population. At least 480 take-back points for glass, metal and fibre packaging should be located in these population centres. In addition, at least 420 take-back points should be located in places with smaller populations and in sparsely populated areas. The remaining 900 points will be set up in public service centres or close to commonly used thoroughfares.
500 take-back points for plastic packaging will be located so that there is at least one of them in population centres of over 10,000 inhabitants. There are about 50 such population centres in Finland. Producers should set up the remaining 450 take-points in accordance with the essential requirements of the decree.
Recycling rates for 2016 and 2020
From the beginning of 2016 recycling rates for fibre should be at least 8o per cent and at least 17 per cent for wooden packaging waste. Recycling rate means the quantity of packaging material recycled by the producer in relation to the quantity of packaging material placed on the market by the said producer.
The recycling rate for non-deposit glass packaging waste is to be at least 27 per cent from the beginning of 2016. From 2020 the rate should be at least 40 per cent.
The recycling rates for metal packaging waste are 75 and 80 per cent, respectively, and for plastic packaging waste at least 16 and 22 per cent, respectively.
EU aiming at resource efficiency
The EU has started a resource efficiency programme with the aim of saving limited natural resources and using them in a sustainable manner. Such resources as water, minerals and wood are to be monitored in a more efficient manner throughput their entire life cycle, which means from first instance of use to final disposal. With regard to packaging waste this appears in the draft directive issued by the EU in July with ever tighter recycling targets for 2020, 2025 and 2030.
Green technology, renewable energy, environmental industry and recycling all aid this process. The aim of the Europe 2020 growth strategy is to create a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy in the EU.
Sections referring to beverage packaging in the decree
The decree does not apply to producers using deposit beverage packaging who have a beverage packaging return scheme or who are associated with such a scheme. Producers in this sector use other packaging so that they are often obligated for all other packaging in addition to deposit beverage packaging. For instance, PYR’s membership also includes member firms belonging to Palpa, the producer organisation for deposit beverage packaging.
In section 7 the decree states that reuse and recycling targets are generally applicable. Producers using non-deposit packaging and beverage packaging are obligated by the above targets. There is a separate decree (no. 526/2013) governing targets for deposit beverage packaging.
Producer responsibility is divided so that consumer packaging belonging to the deposit-based beverage packaging scheme has its own targets, which producers using such packaging are obligated to meet. Non-deposit packaging materials have their own targets and producers, namely firms that are termed as packers or importers of packed products, with an annual turnover of at least EUR 1.0 million are obligated to meet these targets.
The targets for producers using non-deposit or deposit beverage packaging are calculated in accordance with national targets, which they are jointly obligated to meet.
Separate targets for non-deposit packaging
The P & PW packaging decree (no.518/2014) states in section 7 that re-use and recycling targets for packaging are generally applicable. Producers using non-deposit packaging and those using deposit beverage packaging are jointly obligated to comply with these targets. At least 90 percent of used packaging is to be re-used or recycled while at least 65 per cent of packaging waste is to be recycled. Furthermore, separate targets for non-deposit packaging are for the first time specified in the decree.
Producer responsibility is divided so that consumer packaging belonging to the deposit-based beverage packaging return scheme has its own targets in a separate decree (no. 526/2013) which producers using this packaging are obligated to comply with. Non-deposit packaging materials have their own targets in the packaging decree and producers, namely firms termed as packers and importers of packed products, with an annual turnover of at least EUR 1.0 million are obligated to meet these targets. Producers using beverage packaging use several different types of packaging, which means that they are often responsible for the deposit packaging and all other forms of packaging they use. PYR’s membership, for instance, also includes member firms belonging to Palpa, the producer organisation for deposit beverage packaging.