A New Waste Act entered into force in July – what changes for producers?
The long-prepared extensive reform of the Waste Act was approved and entered into force in Finland on 19 July 2021. The most significant change introduced by the reform concerns producer responsibility obligations, which now also extend to distance sellers, such as foreign online retailers that sell their products to Finland.
The reform also made it possible to take care of producer responsibility on another party’s behalf, i.e. an operator comparable to a producer that operates in another country can now take on the obligations of a producer operating in Finland by signing an agreement with Recser Oy.
You can find the instructions for distance sellers and operators comparable to a producer here: https://www.paristokierratys.fi/en/for-producers/producer-responsibility-in-legislation/.
Stricter requirements for product properties
The prohibitions and duties of care (section 9) also became stricter: Batteries and accumulators placed on the Finnish market must be resource-efficient and durable in terms of their life span and working life, among other things. In addition to this, the producer must ensure that spare parts, user instructions, technical specifications and other equipment, devices and software that enable the high-quality repair and safe re-use of the product are made available. You can find the up-to-date Waste Act here (in Finnish): https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/2011/20110646.
Obligation to belong to a producer corporation
In principle, all producers must join or establish a producer corporation by the end of the current year in order to fulfil their producer responsibility. This also applies to the majority of producers of actual industrial accumulators (batteries and accumulators produced solely for industrial or professional use), who have, until now, been allowed to register directly with a producer register administrated by the responsible authority and take care of their obligations independently. The authority supervising producer responsibility sent a letter about the matter to the producers accepted into the producer register in autumn.
New requirements also for producer corporations
The reform of the Waste Act also incorporated the minimum requirements laid down for producer corporations in the Circular Economy Package approved by the EU in 2018 into Finnish legislation. These minimum requirements include a specified obligation to provide information to consumers in order to reduce the harmful nature and amount of waste, as well as new reporting and disclosure obligations, an in-house control obligation and an obligation to cooperate more closely with other producer corporations to reduce the administrative burden of producers.