My recycling habits: “We generate very little mixed waste,” says Aaron Vuola, member of the Rinki Board

Aaron Vuola, member of the Rinki Board, admits to being a “manic recycler”. There is, however, one thing about sorting that annoys Vuola, Manager of the Circular Economy and Environment at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation.

By Heli Satuli

What are your sorting and recycling habits like?

To put it modestly, I’m a good and conscientious sorter and recycler. Some might say I’m a bit of a manic recycler, but I’d describe myself as enthusiastic.

What kind of packaging do you sort for recycling at home?

I separate biowaste and plastic, cardboard, metal and glass packaging. We also have containers for waste paper and deposit bottles and, of course, there’s a container for mixed waste, but we generate very little of that.

How do you sort and recycle your packaging waste?

I use Rinki ecopoints for packaging, paper and recyclable textiles. I’ve made sure that sorting is easy, and it’s been integrated into our kitchen layout. We empty the containers about once a week. We are a family of five, so we generate quite a lot of packaging waste, mainly fibre-based and plastic packaging but also glass and metal.

How long have you been recycling your packaging waste?

I’ve been recycling packaging waste for as long as I can remember. I’ve lived in a number of different countries, including Central America, where almost nothing was recycled. When I moved back to Finland in 2019, I continued recycling, first through the building’s collection point and now through Rinki ecopoints. There are only four residences in our property, so we are not yet obliged to have a property-specific packaging waste collection point.

What else does your household recycle, besides packaging waste?

Everything we can really: biowaste, old clothes, batteries, waste paper, old and broken electronic items… We also sell or give away usable items such as sports kits that have become too small, children’s car seats and clothes and furniture.

What do you find most difficult about the sorting instructions?

I’m so used to sorting that I hardly need to look at the instructions. When I do, I find them fairly clear. I can’t remember having thrown an item into the mixed waste because of poor sorting instructions. The most difficult thing is that there is usually no information about what to do with packaging before recycling it: does it need to be rinsed, flattened, stacked or bagged, for example.

There is a lot of misinformation about what to do with packaging before recycling it. Some people don’t recycle packaging waste because they don’t want to waste warm water rinsing it. I’d tell these people that a quick rinse with cold water is not an insurmountable obstacle. Spend a minute less in the shower instead; that’ll save enough water to rinse several packages. Packaging rarely needs to be rinsed.

Aaron Vuola’s tips for sorting:

Organise the sorting of packaging to make it easy. Make it part of your routine so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Involve everyone, especially your children. If you don’t have much space, there are solutions. We found the perfect solution in a cabinet with drawers, which also serves as an additional worktop. The drawers are easy to load in the boot of the car and empty at the collection point. If your property does not have collection containers, you can drop by a Rinki ecopoint on the way to the shop or gym. If you live in a single-family home, you can also save money by having mixed waste collected once a month instead of once a week.


  • Aaron Vuola
  • Manager of the Circular Economy and Environment at the Finnish Forest Industries Federation
  • Member of the Rinki Board since 2020
  • Works on circular economy, the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) and issues related to fertilisers and by-products

My recycling habits is a series in which Rinki’s stakeholders reveal their sorting and recycling habits and share their sorting tips with readers of the Rinki online magazine. For more sorting tips, visit the Rinki blog