Waste legislation

Finnish waste legislation covers all wastes except certain special types of waste such as radioactive wastes, which are covered by separate laws.

Finnish waste legislation is largely based on EU legislation, but in some cases includes stricter standards and limits than those applied in the EU as a whole. Finland also has legislation on some issues related to wastes that have not yet been covered by EU legislation. 

The negative environmental impacts of wastes are also addressed in legislation on environmental protection:

Taxes and fees payable in relation to wastes are generally included in legislation on taxation, although some fees are included in waste legislation. Other statutes covering specific economic activities also include certain controls related to wastes.

The regulations below are unofficial translations, which are available in PDF format in FINLEX, the Data Bank of Finnish Legislation. Please note that some regulations are available only in Finnish and Swedish.

General waste legislation


Monitoring the fulfilment of Waste Directive targets

The fulfilment of the targets set in the EU Waste Directives must be assessed in compliance with the reporting and calculation rules in the EU Commission's Implementing Decisions:

Waste treatment and recovery

Legislation on specific waste types, products and activities

Waste shipments

Transboundary shipments of wastes are covered by the EC Waste Shipments Regulation, which is directly applicable in all Member States of the EU and European Economic Area. This Regulation lays down detailed provisions on the control of the import, export and transit of wastes and the related permits.

The provisions of the Waste Shipments Regulation are supplemented by two other EC Regulations concerning shipments of the Green List wastes in Annex II of the Waste Shipments Regulation to certain non-OECD countries. The Regulations specify the country-specific control procedures to be applied to the export of a certain type of Green List waste to a non-OECD country for recovery.

In Finland the provisions of the Regulation have been supplemented by chapter 12 of the Waste Act, which lays down the conditions under which the competent authority may approve waste to be shipped to, from or through Finland and the provisions on the advance approval of a recovery installation.

End-of-life vessels

When vessels are to be dismantled the regulatory framework to be applied depends on the size and previous use of the vessel.  The EU Ship Recycling Regulation (SRR) applies to vessels flying the Finnish flag except warships or other state-owned non-commercial vessels, vessels under 500 GT, or vessels sailing only in the territorial waters of the Member State. The Waste Shipments Regulation applies to all other vessels that are shipped to be dismantled. However, the Ship Recycling Regulation is not yet applicable in its entirety, which is why for the time being the Waste Shipments Regulation applies to vessels shipped to be dismantled.

The Ship Recycling Regulation lays down provisions concerning the whole lifecycle of a vessel, including building, use and dismantling. Key obligations include keeping a list of hazardous materials and requirements for the dismantling operations ranging from occupational safety and health protection to environmental protection.

Finnish statutes laying down supplementary provisions:

The competent authorities are the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi during the building and use of the vessel, the competent Regional State Administrative Agency and the area of responsibility of occupational health and safety of the Regional State Administrative Agency with regard to the environmental permit application, and the Finnish Environment Institute as the expert authority and the authority that monitors the application of the Ship Recycling Regulation.

Other legislation

More information

Jussi Kauppila, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs 
Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Environmental Protection Department, Material Cycles Telephone:0295250085   Email Address: