11.4.2024 15:27

Only 1 company in 5 fulfils producer responsibility

Tens of thousands of new companies have been subject to producer responsibility for waste management since new waste management legislation came into force at the start of the year. Producer responsibility now applies to around 50,000 companies.

Producer responsibility for waste management concerns packages, batteries, vehicles, electric and electronic devices, tyres, paper and paper products, as well as certain single-use plastics (SUP). The manufacturers, importers, distance sellers and packers of these products are responsible for the waste management of their products when the products’ service life ends.

The change in law from the start of the year saw the law apply to tens of thousands of new companies. However, just one in five, or around 10,000 companies, has fulfilled its duties as required by law, the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) says in a press release.

“The reason is often a lack of information. Companies don’t know what producer responsibility is or how they can fulfil it. However, bearing your producer responsibility is easy. When you join your sector’s packaging producer association, it can handle those responsibilities for your company,” says Mervi Sivula, who oversees producer responsibility at the Pirkanmaa ELY Centre.

The Pirkanmaa ELY Centre is the authority tasked with oversight of producer responsibility. Sivula says that fulfilling producer responsibility is part of responsible business operations.

“We’ve seen that many consumers have never heard of producer responsibility, but still regularly take packaging waste to recycling points or broken electronics for free to a shop. These services come close to consumers, thanks to companies that fulfil their producer responsibility,” Sivula says.

The tuottajavastuu.fi site provides information about producer responsibility and how to fulfil it.

Avoid extra fees

Producer responsibility is a statutory obligation. Failing to fulfil it can incur a large fine. The fine is a percentage of the company’s turnover for the previous period, from a minimum of €500 to a maximum of €500,000.

“If a company has accidentally neglected its producer responsibility, it doesn’t need to worry. It can set things straight by contacting the packaging producer association in its sector. We always write to a company before setting a fine,” Mika Heinonen, Producer Responsibility Group Manager of the Pirkanmaa ELY Centre, says.

Many companies joined packaging producer associations at the start of this year.

“For example, over 600 new packaging sector companies have joined packaging producer associations since the start of this year. The direction is good, but the information has not necessarily reached all new companies that are subject to producer responsibility legislation,” Heinonen says.

Producer responsibility for packaging

The producer responsibility for packaging applies to the following operators which place packages on the Finnish market in a professional capacity:

  • packers, that is, companies which pack their products or have their products packed on the Finnish market (excluding ‘service packages’ and agricultural packages)
  • importers, that is, companies that import packaged products to Finland
  • distance sellers, that is, foreign companies that remotely sell packaged products directly to a Finnish consumer
  • manufacturers of ‘service’ or agricultural packages, that is, companies that manufacture these packages for the Finnish market
  • importers of ‘service’ or agricultural packages, that is, companies that import these packages to the Finnish market.

If an operator based in Finland is not VAT-liable, its operations are not considered professional, nor does it bear producer responsibility.

More information for companies: tuottajavastuu@ely-keskus.fi, environmental affairs customer service, tel. 0295 020 900

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