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Finland generates over 500 kilos of household waste per person

People threw out an average of 15 more kilos of garbage per capita this year compared to last year.

Jätepusseja jätteenpolttolaitoksen tyhjennyskuilussa.
Trash per capita is up, but so is recycling. Image: Risto Degerman / Yle
Yle News

Finland threw out 565 kg of trash per person in 2019, an increase of 15 kilos over the previous year, according to a new study by Statistics Finland. Ten years ago, people disposed of an average of 500 kilos.

The total amount of rubbish increased by 80,000 tonnes, or by just under three percent last year. The country generated over three million tonnes of municipal waste in 2019.

Municipalities, however, recovered more than half of all this waste to produce electricity and heat which is often utilised in district heating networks.

Since 2016, it has been illegal to dump municipal waste in landfills, which is why the statistics agency said less than one percent of waste ended up in landfills last year.

Recycling of biowaste, plastic up

People have become more active in separating out plastic waste as treatment facilities collected ten percent more plastic last year than in 2018. Biowaste volumes also grew by nine percent.

Separately sorted waste remained on a level with the previous year, at 1.4 million tonnes. Paper, paperboard and biowaste have long been Finland's main separately collected material items.

Recycled plastic is often repurposed to create different materials while most biowaste decomposes to produce biogas.

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