Waste from electrical and electronic equipment
Based on the Waste Act, the seller, or the product distributor, must accept discarded waste electric and electronic equipment WEEE, accumulators, batteries, and tyres at the seller’s point of sale free of charge. The seller is also obligated to share information about the fact that it accepts discarded products. The costs from accepting discarded products are covered by the seller, while the producers (i.e. manufacturers and importers) will bear any costs after they have been accepted, i.e. transport and handling costs.
Products accepted without the obligation to purchase a new product are:
- Portable accumulators and batteries, including button cell batteries, AA and AAA batteries, and accumulators and batteries used in laptops, mobile phones, cordless tools, toys, and electric toothbrushes and shavers.
- Small (less than 25 cm) household WEEE, such as mobile phones and their chargers, energy-saving lamps, electric toothbrushes, toys, hair dryers and power tools. The obligation to accept discarded products is for convenience stores which have a sales floor area of more than 1,000 square metres or other stores that sell WEEE with sales floor area of more than 200 square metres. A reception point may also be arranged in the immediate vicinity of the point of sale. The seller must accept products also from other places than households if they are correspondent to household equipment in quality and quantity.
The seller must accept the following products when a new corresponding product is purchased as a replacement:
- Large household WEEE, i.e. the seller must accept, free of charge, the equipment when the customer purchases a new corresponding product as a replacement. A reception point may also be arranged in the immediate vicinity of the point of sale. The seller must also accept products from other places than households if they are correspondent to household equipment in quality and quantity.
- Vehicle tyres, i.e. the seller must accept them free of charge when the customer buys the same number of tyres of the same type as replacements. This obligation only applies to tyres without rims.
Automotive batteries i.e. discarded starter batteries from consumers are considered to be products accepted voluntarily. If a store that sells starter batteries to consumers accepts discarded starter batteries from the consumer, it must take them free of charge without obligation to buy a new product.
Information on reception points arranged by the seller for discarded products must be provided to customers for example through the store’s marketing or on signboards at points of sale. The seller bears the costs caused by the provision of information. The discarded products accepted by the seller may only be delivered to handlers or carriers who have an agreement with the producer (manufacturer or importer). Based on the Waste Act, it is forbidden to deliver such products to other parties. After the products leave the store, the producers are responsible for the waste management of them, and they pay the costs of this waste management themselves.
Accumulators, WEEE and batteries discarded by consumers can also be taken to reception points organised by the producers and producer corporations free of charge.
Statistics on electrical and electronic equipment (EEE)
As of 2019, the household’s WEEE collection target has been at least 65% relative to the average of the EEE placed on the market in the previous three years. In 2019, the collection rate was 57.9%, although in Finland nearly 13.3 kg of WEEE per capita per year was collected, which is the top level in Europe.
EEE is classified into 10 different categories of equipment. Recovery, recycling and reuse targets are set for each category, which producers must ensure.
Reuse, recycling and recovery targets for collected WEEE
Heating and cooling equipment (class 1) and other large appliances (class 4):
- recovery target 85 %
- reuse and recycling target 80%
Displays (category 2):
- recovery target 80 %
- reuse and recycling target 70%
Small appliances (class 5) and small telecommunications equipment (class 6):
- recovery target of 75 %
- reuse and recycling target 55%
The targets were achieved in 2019.
The National Waste Plan targets
With regard to WEEE, the aim of the National Waste Plan is to increase the amount of reuse of electrical and electronic equipment, as well as to reduce their share of mixed waste and increase recycling. The aim is to recover critical raw materials and valuable materials in WEEE more efficiently and, on the other hand, to get the harmful substances in them out of circulation.
Stén Sirje (25.11.2021). National waste plan for 2027 [powerpoint presentation]. Ministry of the Environment.
Ymparisto.fi (2021) WEEE statistics.
Ympäristö.fi (2021) Batteries and accumulators.
Paristokierrätys 2021. Statistical information on recycling batteries and accumulators.