Legislation and glass collection systems
Europe has several different systems of glass waste processing. They can be roughly divided in three types:
- Extended producer responsibility
- Deposit system
- Traded rights
In Finland two of the above are used, namely extended producer responsibility and deposit system. Deposit system is used for collecting drinking bottles.
Glass bottle collection and processing is handled in Finland by company Palautepakkaus Oy (Palpa). Palpa does not generate profit. The system works so that the producer either pays a tax of 0,51 euros/liter or joins Palpa collection system. Usually the latter is a cheaper option.
Finland has one of the highest rates bottle return – in 2018, 88% of all glass bottles were returned (and 95% of cans).
88% of all glass bottles returned
Palpa’s business works in a following way:
- Costs are covered with fees collected from producers and importers of drinks
- Palpa compensates collection points (usually stores) for maintenance costs. The bottle return machinery is however purchased by the store itself
- Palpa pays for transportation
- Palpa pays for glass processing
- Processing complex pays Palpa the price it gets from the material
Reverse vending machines used in Finland are mainly produced by three companies; Tomra, RVM System, Diebold-Nixdorf.
In stores the bottles are collected in containers of 600 or 240 liters. The transporter picks them up and takes either to temporary storage or directly to the processing complex. The transport is loaded from the back and has a hydraulic waste presser.
Palpa has a contract with two glass processing companies; Finnish Uusioaines Oy and glass package producer in Portugal. Uusioaines has also own transportation volumes.
Empty glass bottles from offices, hotels, schools and event organizers are collected by the same distributor who brings the full bottles in the first place.
Other glass packages
Collection rate of other glass packages (not under deposit system) is also high: 90%. Same as with bottles, producer or importer can join a collection system organized by Suomen Paakauskierrätys RINKI Oy which will organize the waste processing on behalf of the producer. Collection and utilization are executed together with Suomen keräyslasiyhdistys ry. All collection points meant for private consumers can be seen on a following electronic map: https://www.kierratys.info/
90% of other glass packages returned
Some resident’s associations have their own collection. In this case collection is handled by the municipality (or a subcontractor). The collected glass is usually taken to a temporary storage in Ammässuo. From there the glass is further transported to Forssa to be processed by a company Uusioaines Oy.
Uusioaines recycles glass into foam glass and new packaging glass. There is also another company in Finland producing new material from recycled glass – Saint-Global Rakennustuotteet Oy. Significant part of new packaging glass is however manufactured abroad.
Other glass (mirrors, windows)
Uusioaines Oy also processes glass that is not used as a package.