Finland's waste policy aims to promote the sustainable use of natural resources and to ensure that waste does not endanger human health or harm the environment. The Ministry of the Environment participates in the preparation of waste policy on the national, European Union and international levels. The Ministry prepares national waste legislation and guides, develops and monitors the implementation of legislation.

Waste management follows the order of priority

Waste management is based on a certain order of priority.

  • Primarily, the generation of waste should be avoided.
  • If waste is generated, it must be prepared for reuse or reused.
  • If reusing is not possible, waste must be primarily recovered as materials (recycled), and secondarily recovered as energy.
  • Waste may be disposed of in landfills only if its recovery is not technically or financially feasible.

The order of priority may only be ignored if following some other option would be better for the environment. When choosing a waste management option according to the order of priority, the life-cycle impacts of waste, environmental protection, and the waste operator's technical and economic conditions for complying with the order of priority are all taken into account.

The National Waste Plan, approved by the Government, defines waste management objectives for 2023 and measures for achieving these objectives. The Government Programme also proposes several measures aimed at preventing the generation of waste and promoting the recovery of waste material.

Finland has also drafted a national strategy for reducing the landfilling of biodegradable waste. 

More information

Riitta Levinen, Senior Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Environmental Protection Department, Material Cycles Telephone:0295250162   Email Address: