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New Waste Act to enter into force on May 1, 2012 in Finland

March 2012 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources . Legal Developments by Procopé & Hornborg.

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The EC waste directive (2008/98/EC) will be implemented in Finland by the new Finnish Waste Act, which will enter into force on May 1, 2012.

The Waste Act includes several provisions, which will be specified by new statutory decrees to ensure uniformity of application and efficiency of implementation in the whole country. Uniform interpretation should also serve to further communication between the operators and the authorities in various parts of the country.  The purpose of the new legislation is to delete overlapping provisions and to clarify the rules relating to waste. In November, 2011, the Ministry of the Environment issued a proposal for a government decree which will include the most important provisions relating to the implementation of the Waste Act.

What does priority order mean in practice?

According to the Waste Act, operators shall primarily reduce the quantity and harmfulness of the waste resulting from their operations. If, however, waste is generated, the first priority is to prepare the waste for reuse and secondarily to recycle it. If recycling is not possible, the waste must be recovered in another manner, including recovery for energy purposes. The proposal for the government decree provides more detailed regulation also on the application of the priority order, compliance with which is included in the general obligations of waste and waste prevention management.

What is the effect on environmental licenses?

The Waste Act also has an effect on environmental licenses. The environmental licenses must provide the necessary provisions on the monitoring and control of waste management and on the waste treatment monitoring and control plan and compliance therewith as enacted in the Waste Act.

Who bears the responsibility in a company?

The effects of the new Waste Act and related legislation must be taken into account in a company’s environmental management and responsibility scheme. The amendment of the waste legislation may have effects on a company’s production processes, procurement agreements, sales agreements, environmental licenses and company restructuring arrangements. Now is the time to define the company-specific effects.


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