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Separate collection of waste helps preserve environment and save on waste collection costs

Separate collection of waste helps preserve environment and save on waste collection costs

Separate collection of waste is the only way to ensure better recycling opportunities for different types of waste, thereby saving both the environment and resources. Tallinn residents can dispose of separately collected packaging at their place of origin or at public packaging points.

Deputy Mayor of Tallinn, Joosep Vimm, acknowledges that separate waste collection helps protect nature and the environment and also saves on waste collection costs. “Sixty percent of household waste consists of packaging. Collecting them separately doesn’t increase waste but significantly reduces the volume of mixed municipal waste. Residents can make packaging disposal convenient by ordering container or packaging bag services. It’s worth reviewing the size of containers, whether the volumes of waste after sorting allow for less frequent emptying or smaller containers. This way, it’s possible to save on costs,” explained Vimm.

Public packaging points in Tallinn are managed by recycling organizations: MTÜ Eesti Taaskasutusorganisatsioon (ETO), Tootjavastutusorganisatsioon OÜ (TVO), and OÜ Eesti Pakendiringlus (EPR). All three offer an alternative collection service for packaging waste at the place of origin for both private houses and apartment buildings.

For private house residents, the packaging bag service (pakendikotiteenus) is designed. Different materials of packaging can be put into a packaging bag. It can include plastic, film, paper, cardboard, glass, and metal, ranging from candy wrappers to glass jars and ketchup bottles to cardboard boxes. Each household is entitled to up to two packaging bags per month. TVO's current statistics show that on average, one household fills two to three 150-liter packaging bags in a month.

As the packaging waste volumes in apartment buildings are significantly larger, the best solution is two different containers: one for plastic and metal packaging as well as for beverage cartons, and another for glass packaging. Due to the larger amount of collected packaging, their quality is even more important. If all packaging were put into one collection container, it would affect the quality of materials and the efficiency of sorting, thus reducing the proportion of packaging that can be recycled.

“The cleaner and more sorted the packaging reaches us, the less resource expenditure is needed for it to be recycled and turned into new material,” said Alder Harkmann, board member of OÜ Eesti Pakendiringlus. Tallinna Jäätmete Taaskasutuskeskus AS also offers residents glass container rental and emptying services (see more).

“Our recent survey showed that residents of apartment buildings often don't know that the emptying of packaging containers for apartment buildings is free. However, the housing/apartment association needs to order the service themselves – here, awareness campaigns can definitely make a difference. On-site collection of packaging could be what makes sorting packaging into a habit for those for whom reaching a public packaging point has been too much of a hassle,” noted Kristiina Dreimann, CEO of TVO, emphasizing that the more sorters, the more packaging reaches the sorting line and gets recycled.

Remember, it is not permitted to leave packaging or other waste beside public packaging containers. If a container at a packaging point is full, you can report it using the contact details on the container (ETO: 6403240, [email protected]; TVO: 6811480, [email protected] or EPR: 6339240, [email protected]).

Sorting is easy – follow these steps:

  • Make sure you are dealing with packaging, i.e., if the item you are holding was wrapped around a product. If yes, it's packaging, regardless of its material.
  • Ensure the packaging is empty and clean. It doesn't necessarily need to be washed, it should be clean enough not to dirty other packages when compressed and mixed.
  • Separate glass, cardboard, plastic, and metal packaging. Dismantle multi-material packaging – unscrew caps, remove lids, and cardboard sleeves, etc.
  • Find the nearest packaging container or order the service (container service for apartment buildings or yellow bag/container service for private houses). Place the packages into the designated container, separating them by material.