Sorting waste helps preserve nature and save resources

People’s awareness on environmental issues expands with every year and with it an interest in sorting household waste. Thus, it is important to reiterate the principles for sorting waste in order to keep our environment clean and to promote waste recycling and reusing.

“In Tallinn, approximately 230,000 tons of waste is generated per year, with each person generating an average of 9.9 kilograms of waste per week, or 515 kilograms per capita per year. Thus, each of us can make a significant contribution for cleaner environment by sorting waste,” said Mart Luik, Tallinn's Business Director. “Hazardous waste, bio waste, cardboard and paper, glass, packaging and other waste that can be recycled must be collected separately. Sorted waste can be taken to containers located in urban space or to a waste station. Also, a container for packaging waste and a glass container can be ordered directly to apartment buildings and private houses.”

According to the Waste Act, sorting waste is mandatory for all households in Estonia. This applies at home, at work and in educational institutions.

The following are the main points on how to sort waste properly:

  • mixed domestic waste (broken clothes and footwear, broken dishes, vacuum cleaner bags, used diapers, soaked paper, packaged dust and kitty litter, cigarette butts, used paper dishes, expired cosmetics products, CDs, broken incandescent and halogen bulbs, broken soft toys, large bones, cooled ashes, hard to clean packaging, foil, used baking sheets and other similar domestic waste) - take to the mixed domestic waste container;

○        do not put in the container biodegradable kitchen and cooking waste, construction and demolition waste, incl. paints, dangerous waste (fire and explosion hazards), biodegradable gardening and landscaping waste, batteries, old electronics, liquids, large waste, medicine;

  • bio waste (solid food waste, fruit and vegetable peels, spoiled fruit and vegetables, flowers, houseplants, paper towels and tissues, ground coffee, paper filters, eggshells, egg cartons, tea packs) - take to the bio waste container wrapped in a paper bag or paper towel;

○        do not put in the container bio waste wrapped in plastic, plastic, packaging, soups or dressings/sauces, large bones, cigarette butts, other domestic waste;

  • paper and cardboard (catalogues, magazines, newspapers, advertisements, books, kraft paper, paper bags, cardboard boxes without tape (folded) - take to the paper container or to the waste station;

○        do not put in the container dirty and soaked paper, cardboard or paper with attached plastic or foil (e.g. Tetra Pak), used paper dishes, paper towels, tissues;

  • glass (jars, soft and hard drink bottles) - take to the nearest packaging point’s glass packaging container;

○        do not put in the container dangerous substances’ bottles, window or sheet glass, light bulbs;

  • packaging waste (clean plastic, tetra, glass, metal and cardboard packaging (butter packaging, plastic bottles, plastic boxes, cosmetics cases, drink cartons, milk, yoghurt and juice cartons, tin containers, aluminium and tin cans, metal lids) - take loosely or wrapped in a transparent bag to the nearest packaging point’s packaging container;

○        do not put in the container soiled packaging, plastic toys, rubber items, dangerous substances’ packaging and bottles, window or sheet glass, light bulbs, aerosol packaging, used diapers;

  • dangerous waste (solvents, paints, batteries, cells, medicine and other waste containing chemicals) - take to the nearest waste station (Please note! Pharmacies are obliged to accept expired medicine to have it destroyed). Smaller batteries and cells can be taken to the collection boxes available at larger stores;
  • old tyres - take to the nearest waste station (private persons can hand over up to 8 tyres without rims for free);
  • old furniture and clothes - take to the nearest Re-Use Centre (Uuskasutuskeskus) or the waste station;
  • used electrical or electronic items - take to the nearest waste station or hand over at a waste collection point (NB! When purchasing a new piece of equipment, the store is obliged to accept an old similar item).

If the container at the packaging point is full or the surroundings are littered, please inform the contact number on the packaging container or the Circular Economy Department of the Tallinn Strategic Management Office (tel. 640 4581).


Packaging waste containers and removal is offered for private homes and apartment buildings by Tootjavastutusorganisatsioon OÜ or Eesti Pakendiringlus OÜ, and glass container by Rohenool, Eesti Pakendiringlus or Tallinna Jäätmete Taaskasutuskeskus.


Additional information is available on the Tallinn City Government and Ministry of the Environment websites:


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