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Municipal waste companies

In the mainland Finland about 270 Finnish municipalities out of 293 arrange municipal waste management in cooperation, providing services for 5,3 million of inhabitants. Only about 24 municipalities organize waste management alone, which rely mainly on the services of a municipal enterprise or business entity, either through contracts or tenders.

There are several options of co-operation:

  1. Establishment of a municipal enterprise together with co-operation municipalities. The private ownership is not allowed, so the enterprise should be municipally-owned. Municipal enterprise can operate on market terms only at a small extent. The average volume of market-based operations of such enterprise cannot exceed 10 % of turnover.
  2. Establishment of an association of municipalities with other municipalities or agreement on the joint production of the service with another municipality or association of municipalities. According to the Municipal Act (410/2015), waste management companies operating as association of municipalities cannot have market-based activities, so they only accept waste on the basis of municipal responsibility stated in Waste Act.
  3. Municipalities could also agree on the joint purchasing of the service with another municipality or association of municipalities. In case of purchasing services from a private service provider, the services should be tendered out in accordance with Finnish procurement law. However, organizational responsibility always belongs to municipality. In this way could be avoided situations, where private operator goes bankrupt and is not able to provide need services.

 

In 2021, in Finland there were in operation 25 municipal enterprises, 4 associations of municipalities, 1 business entity and 2 balance units as well as one joint purchase service from private company, organized by four municipalities.

Municipal enterprises and associations of municipalities, or Municipal Waste Management Organizations (MWMOs), are the most common way to organize waste management in Finland. Municipal enterprises and associations of municipalities are public entities. However, they are registered in the register of companies and establishments.

According to the Municipal Act (410/2015), waste management companies operating as association of municipalities cannot have market-based activities, so they only accept waste on the basis of municipal responsibility stated in Waste Act. In case of purchasing services from a private service provider, the services should be tendered out in accordance with Finnish procurement law (Hankintalaki). However, organizational responsibility always belongs to municipality. In this way could be avoided situations, where private operator goes bankrupt and is not able to provide need services