Composition of waste metal 2019

Mepak-Kierrätys examined the composition of waste metal collected from consumers in Finland. The study, carried out with VVT Technical Research Institute of Finland, analysed the breakdown of metal packaging, small metal items and deposit return drinks cans as well as wrongly sorted waste ending up in collection, i.e. the quantity of reject material. You can download the entire research paper here.

Metal samples were collected nationwide

The study collected samples from Rinki take-back points and collection from residential properties across Finland (with the exception of Åland). The samples were collected from seven areas between April and July 2019.

The study generated reliable information about metal recycling

According to the study, almost equal quantities of metal packaging and small metal items are collected and the quality of the metal is mostly good. The study established that more small metal items are collected from Rinki eco take-back points than from collection from residential properties.
The study showed that 41% of metal packaging and 46% of small metal items are returned for metal collection. Packaging metal consists mostly of metal (97%) and the remaining 3% of other material such as paper or labels (1.9%), biowaste (0.5%) and plastic (0.1%).

The amount of wrongly sorted waste or reject material was similar both at Rinki eco take-back points and collection from residential properties, around 13% of all waste metal. Waste electrical and electronic equipment accounted for by far the majority of reject material included in waste metal collected from consumers. A significant quantity of unemptied pressurised packaging was also found. 

The study generated verifiable data about the quality of waste ending up in consumer metal collection. The results of the study can be used to provide more reliable data for metal packaging statistics. Learn more about the research here.


The study was commissioned by Mepak-Kierrätys Oy and was carried out in partnership with Suomen Palautuspakkaus Oy (Palpa), Suomen Kiertovoima Ry (KIVO), Suomen Pakkauskierrätys RINKI Oy and Pirkanmaa ELY Centre.