Editorial 19.10.2020

The cost burden for companies is increasing

Juha-Heikki Tanskanen
Juha-Heikki Tanskanen

The tightening obligations related to producer responsibility for packaging is beginning to materialise in the form of increases in recycling fees and more detailed reporting requirements. The recently published recycling fees for 2021 are quite harsh for plastic and also for fibre. The recycling fee for plastic packaging for consumers will rise to EUR 234 per tonne, up by 97 % from the 2020 level.

Producer responsibility operations cost companies around EUR 25 million this year. Next year the figure will be as high as EUR 35-40 million. When the tight new rules under the new Waste Act enter into force in 2023, the cost will rise to EUR 60-70 million. The SUP Directive, which is due to be implemented in Finnish legislation next summer, will further increase the costs.

The extent to which the costs will rise will depend on Finland’s interpretations of the directive, which are currently being discussed by the Ministry of the Environment.

The producer organisations and Rinki are non-profit companies entirely owned by producer-responsible companies and their representative associations. These companies exist for the sole purpose of ensuring that their customers’ statutory recycling responsibilities are handled to a good standard and in a cost-effective manner.

Increases in recycling fees will enhance the companies’ interest in the producer responsibility scheme and the companies that handle it on their behalf. This is a good thing. In the best case scenario, the growing interest can be channelled into more concerted lobbying action and a long-term vision for the implementation of the producer responsibility scheme.