12 waste sorting tips

Save these waste sorting instructions for future use. Practice makes perfect!

Written by Tarja Västilä Photos by Tarja Västilä
  1. Homes always have limited space. If not all waste can be hidden in the kitchen, employ your interior design eye for the good of the environment. You can keep plastic or deposit bottles and cans in pretty baskets with lids and take them to the recycling point at the same time, much like used batteries and LED and energy-saving lamps.
  2. Sort all of the waste at home. This way, it will be easier to recycle.
  3. When you sort waste carefully, you will find that there is less and less mixed waste. That’s an achievement!
  4. If you collect biowaste into paper bags or containers fashioned out of newspaper, tear pieces of egg carton for the bottom. They absorb moisture. The bag will not become soggy if the biowaste container is not completely sealed. You should empty the container often to prevent bad smells.
  5. In addition to food scraps, coffee filters and tea bags, pieces of kitchen roll, tissue paper and paper napkins as well as greaseproof paper and baking sheet are biowaste. Please do not pour liquid waste into the biowaste bag, not even into a biodegradable plastic bag. Package cooking fat and oil into a closed container or a taped milk carton and dispose of it in mixed waste.
  6. Do not dispose of paper in a brown paper bag. It is paperboard. Collect newspapers, envelopes, cards and advertising post in a box that you can use several times, for example, and dump the contents into the paper collection bin.
  7. Flatten and fit, squeeze and slip! A standard milk carton, for example, will fit an unbelievable amount of cardboard. You do not need to worry about the aluminium coating on the inside of the juice carton – it’s still cardboard.
  8. When someone in the family asks ‘where does this go,’ the answer is usually plastic waste. Rinse and dry dirty packaging plastic, you do not need to wash it. Remove caps and the cover film of a cold cuts package, for example, because they are different types of plastic.
  9. You should also try to figure out whether your plastic is actually packaging waste. If you only think about whether it is plastic or not, you may get it wrong. Plastic utensils, straws, toys and toothbrushes are not packages, and they should not be placed with recycled plastic waste.
  10. Hazardous waste lives up to its name. If cans and tubes contain paint, spray paint or aerosol residues, you should take them to the Sortti Station. Hazardous waste can also be taken free of charge to hazardous waste collection containers usually located at service stations or grocery stores. You can find your nearest collection containers at www.kierratys.info. Expired medication must be taken to the pharmacy.
  11. Used textiles are mixed waste, but if they are in good shape, you should consider selling them at a flea market or take them to a clothes collection point. Some chain stores also accept textile waste.
  12. Product packaging for Finnish products, in particular, will tell you what type of waste they are. Read the markings to learn more and get used to recycling. Practice makes perfect!