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Despite calls from the Government and environmental organizations to moderate consumption to save the planet, Finland is one of the countries with the highest level of consumption in the world, and this becomes evident in the amount of waste generated by its inhabitants, which continues to grow significantly each year.

According to the latest figures published by Statistics Finland, the total amount of municipal waste generated was 3,122,705 tons in 2019. Compared with the previous year, the growth amounted to around 80,000 tons, or just under 3%.

This is an increase that is added to those registered over the last decade: In 2018, the total amount of waste was 3,041,082 tons, with a growth of 8% (229,000 tons) over the previous year.

Municipal waste refers to waste generated in housing as well as comparable waste from trade and services and corresponding waste from manufacturing support activities.

waste-per-capita-2019Source: Waste statistics, by Statistics Finland.

Amount of waste per capita

The amount of waste also grew relative to Finland's population. At the beginning of the 2010s, the amount of waste settled at around 500 kg per capita. However, since then it has increased significantly: in 2019, the amount of municipal waste was 565 kg per person, growing by 15 kg from the year before.

The most intense growth occurs from 2015, as statistics show.

No great changes took place in the mutual shares of treatment methods of waste. Since 2012 energy recovery of waste has been the most significant treatment mode of municipal waste – although in 2019 its share fell slightly, to 56%.

Energy recovery of municipal waste is based on combined production of electricity and heat, and the heat is often utilized in district heating networks.

The share of material recovery of waste grew slightly, being 43%. Due to the landfill prohibition of organic waste that came into force in 2016, municipal waste is no longer deposited at landfills. In 2019, the share of landfill disposal was 1%.

Waste-treatment-recovery-2019Source: Waste statistics by Statistics Finland.

Each Finnish resident generates 565 kilos of waste per year