Accessibility of bring sites for plastic packaging waste, reusable textiles and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

Improving waste sorting at households is in a key role in meeting the ambitious recycling targets set by the European Union. One of the most important factors influencing recycling behavior is the availability and accessibility of recycling services: how far away from home the nearest bring sites are.

According to Waste Act, the network of waste bring sites should be sufficient, equally distributed, and accessible in all regions in Finland.

A part of municipal solid waste is separated to different fractions directly at the property and the rest are taken to regional bring sites. The regional collection of plastic packaging waste was begun in 2016 in most regions of Finland. During the past years, plastic packaging waste has been also collected from the property in certain regions.

The Government Decree on Waste that was renewed in 2021, calls for improved source-separation of waste. The collection of source-separated plastic packaging waste will be available in properties with at least five apartments. In addition, the number of bring sites will also be significantly increased. Hence, the source-separation of plastic packaging waste becomes easier in many ways.

The renewed Waste Decree will also begin the collection of textile waste by 2023. Until now, only reusable textiles have been collected in many regions. Textile waste consists of textiles that are not suitable for reuse but can instead be recycled for example to new textile fibres.

Here, we are monitoring the development of the accessibility of bring sites for plastic packaging waste, reusable textiles, and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The accessibility is estimated as the residents’ distance to the nearest bring site via roads and walkways based on the national Digiroad road network dataset. The estimation illustrates how easy or time-consuming source-separation is and whether the bring site can be accessed by foot or bike or if a car is needed to transport the recyclables. As the main data source, we use the service, maintained by the Finnish Solid Waste Association (KIVO). In addition, for textiles we use data on the reusable textile collection points maintained by NGOs: UFF, Fida, and Red Cross (SPR). For WEEE, we have also included retail, electronics, and home appliances stores that take back discarded electrical appliances.

The availability and accessibility of bring sites varies between residential areas, municipalities, and regions in different parts of Finland. Although there are bring sites all over the country, the sites are most easily accessible in the densely populated areas and cities in the South. In average, the residents of Uusimaa region have the shortest distance to the bring sites and the residents of Lapland the longest.

In comparison to the previous year, the accessibility of plastic packaging waste bring sites had not changed much nationally in 2020. However, there have been improvement in the accessibility in certain regions, such as South Karelia.

From 2019 to 2020, the accessibility of reusable textile bring sites had increased only slightly in some regions, mainly in Ostrobothnia and Central Ostrobothnia. Meanwhile in some regions, the accessibility had slightly decreased.

The accessibility of WEEE bring sites had also slightly increased nationally. During both the years, there had, however, been least variation in the accessibility of WEEE bring sites between the regions compared to plastics and textiles.

Due to the renewed Waste Decree, there will be new obligations in force for the collection of plastic packaging waste by 2023. This is expected to increase the accessibility of the collection of plastic packaging waste.

Bring sites for plastic packaging waste


Bring sites for reusable textiles


Bring sites for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)


More information

  • Senior Research Scientist Kati Pitkänen, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE),
  • Researcher Tiina Karppinen, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE),
  • Researcher Kimmo Nurmio, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE),
Published 2020-05-19 at 12:49, updated 2022-12-12 at 9:09
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