Organisation and responsibilities of waste management

In accordance with the Waste Act, waste holders, such as private individuals, property owners or companies, are primarily responsible for the management of waste. An exception to this rule is the responsibility municipalities and certain manufacturers may have for organising waste management.

The most economically viable technology and the best practices for preventing harmful environmental or health effects must be used in waste management. The Waste Act prohibits uncontrolled dumping or treatment of waste.

Responsibilities of municipalities

Municipalities are responsible for organising the management of waste generated in dwellings and by the municipality’s administrative and service functions. Municipalities are also responsible for arranging the recovery and treatment of hazardous waste generated in dwellings. The recovery and treatment of hazardous waste from agriculture and forestry is also the responsibility of municipalities, unless excessive quantities are involved. In addition, municipalities are in charge of providing information and advice on the waste management services for which they are responsible.

In practice, many municipalities have assigned most of their waste management duties to regional companies, which usually purchase the services by putting them out to tender among private waste management enterprises. More information on regional waste management companies and their operations is available on the KIVO Finland (Suomen Kiertovoima ry) website.

Municipal waste charges and rates

Pursuant to the Waste Act, municipalities shall charge waste holders for the costs of the waste management they provide. Municipal waste charges are used to cover the costs of carrying out waste management tasks, including the establishment, use and aftercare of disposal sites. The waste charge shall correspond to the service level provided by the municipality and shall, as far as possible, provide incentive to reduce the quantity and harmfulness of waste, and implement waste management, in accordance with the order of priority laid down in the Waste Act.

Municipal waste charges and their grounds are determined by local waste tariffs. The type, quality and quantity of waste, as well as collection frequency all have an effect on the waste charge. Further grounds that may be taken into account are the conditions for collecting and transporting waste on the property and in the transport area, the use of municipal waste collection devices and the transport distance, if the waste is picked up from the property as a separate transport. If it is otherwise difficult to establish the quantity and quality of the waste, the grounds for setting the waste charge can also be based on the number of persons on the property or on the purpose of use of the property.

In addition to this, municipalities are entitled to collect a separate basic charge, also known as an “eco charge”, which covers the costs resulting from the maintenance of registers, the provision of guidance and other similar tasks. Grounds for the basic charge include the number of persons living on the property, the purpose of use of the property or other comparable grounds.

It is possible to lodge an objection with the municipal authority responsible for setting and collecting the waste charge within 14 days of receiving the bill. The municipal waste management authority shall make a decision on the objection. A party dissatisfied with the decision may appeal to the local administrative court. Other authorities do not have the possibility to make changes to the waste charge.

Producer responsibility

Municipalities are not responsible for types of waste covered by the so-called producer responsibility. Producer responsibility obliges manufacturers and importers (i.e. “producers”) to organise and pay for the management of waste resulting from their products.

Producer responsibility is applied to the following products: tyres from motor vehicles, other vehicles and equipment; cars, vans and comparable vehicles; batteries and accumulators; printing paper and paper for manufacturing other paper products; electronic and electrical appliances and packaging. The producers of producer groups are obliged to organise regional collection points for waste of this type.

Information on waste management

If you would like more information on waste management or the waste management services in your municipality, please contact the municipal operator in charge of waste management or your local waste management company. More information on regional waste management companies and their operations is available on the KIVO Finland (Suomen Kiertovoima ry) web service (in Finnish and Swedish).

More information

Senior Officer for Legal Affairs Ella Särkkä, The Ministry of the Environment,, tel. +358 295 250 308

Published 2019-03-20 at 8:21, updated 2020-10-01 at 15:11