At the beginning of next year, the producer responsibility for packaging will extend to apply to companies of all sizes. What does this mean in practice?
The amendment in Chapter 6 of the Waste Act that applies to small companies will take effect on 1 January 2024. This means that, thereafter, the producer responsibility specified in the Waste Act will also apply to companies with an annual turnover of less than a million euros.
In other words, even small companies will be responsible for arranging the collection and recycling of their product packaging (plastic, glass, metal, cardboard, wood). The obligation applies to products brought to the domestic market but also to products sold directly to users by means of distance selling.
Who are affected by the Waste Act amendment?
The Waste Act amendment extends the producer responsibility to cover all producers of packaging. A packaging producer is considered to be any a company that manufactures or imports any products intended for sale that are protected with packaging materials during transit and distribution, for example.
As an example, the following will be regarded as packaging producers as of 1 January 2024:
- product manufacturers that package their products or have them packaged
- importers of packaged products (companies that own the products upon their entry into the country)
- manufacturers of service packaging (e.g. takeaway packaging at meat counters, cafés and restaurants)
- manufacturers of packaging for unprocessed agricultural and gardening products, (i.e. grower packaging)
How do I handle the producer responsibility for packaging?
An easy way to handle the practicalities of the producer responsibility is to join a producer responsibility organisation. The organisation handles the collection and recycling as well as other statutory measures on behalf of its members. The Finnish non-profit Sumi Oy is a responsible choice:
- an authorised producer responsibility organisation for packaging
- provides high quality, listens to customers and ensures cost efficiency
- a fully domestic recycling chain, which means that all plastic and glass materials are processed in Finland, reducing your organisation’s environmental footprint