Juha-Heikki Tanskanen
Perspective 9.5.2022

Who will foot the bill?

Less than 30 per cent of Finns would be willing to pay more for recycling, states Juha-Heikki Tanskanen, CEO of Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd.

A customer survey carried out by Rinki in March 2022 showed that almost everyone in Finland understands the importance of recycling, and a significant proportion also sort most of their waste. Yet less than 30 per cent are willing to pay more for recycling. These results are familiar from previous surveys. 

Sanna Marin’s Government Programme (2019) aims to make Finland carbon-neutral by 2035. This requires measures such as minimising the use of fossil fuels. Someone must be prepared to pay the bill, but it will be hard to find volunteers. Politicians are faced with difficult decisions. While increased costs can be offset by tax breaks or subsidies, in the end it will be consumers who pay for these changes.  

We need to combat climate change right now, and we must find the most cost-effective means to do so.

It is also a challenge for the producer responsibility scheme for packaging. The targets set for plastic recycling rates for 2025 and 2030 are so strict that some operators in the sector consider them impossible to achieve. It is clear to everyone that costs will increase as collection and recycling efforts increase. Costs for companies with producer responsibility will rise in the next few years, and this money will come from customers – all of us. 

It has now become clear – if it was not already – that our environmental impact cannot be excluded from cost calculations forever. We need to combat climate change right now, and we must find the most cost-effective means to do so. Technological advancements and investment will improve efficiency in the long term and help to compensate for additional costs, providing sustainable well-being for us all. 

 

Juha-Heikki Tanskanen  

CEO, Finnish Packaging Recycling RINKI Ltd