Waste and waste management

Waste management in Espoo is organised by the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY), which is in charge of waste collection and the maintenance of landfills and hazardous waste collection points.

The Espoo Environment Department controls general waste management, waste recovery and treatment, and related emissions and other environmental hazards. The supervision covers, for example, the Ämmässuo Waste Treatment Centre, general land reclamation sites inside the city, and the recycling and recovery facilities.

The best waste is zero waste

As many types of waste can now be reused, they are best sorted at source and taken to the nearest collection point for recycling. If you have a detached house or a cottage, try setting up a compost. If in doubt, read the waste sorting instructions. Landfills are reserved for non-recyclable waste only. General principles of waste management are specified in the common waste management regulations of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area approved by HSY.

The opening of the Vantaa waste-to-energy plant did not bring changes in the instructions for domestic waste sorting and recycling. Biowaste, paper, cardboard, glass and metal continue to be sorted into separate containers, whereas energy waste can be disposed with solid waste.

Do not litter the environment

Increased littering in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area reduces people’s sense of well-being. Fortunately, we all can help keeping the nature clean and pleasing to the eye. Littering is first and foremost about attitude. Sofas and other large items belong in Sortti Stations, and smaller pieces of garbage in bins outside or at home.

The person responsible for littering is always responsible for the cleaning. Secondary liability lies with the landowner. Littered areas can be reported to the Espoo Environment Department customer service.

Compost, shred or chip garden waste

The environmental protection regulations ban the dumping of leaves, branches and other garden waste in public forests, parks, green spaces, streets and water areas. The Nature Conservation Act forbids the spread of invasive species that may colonise new areas and cause permanent damage. Naturally, these prohibitions also apply to private gardens and plots.

Garden waste must not be piled in public areas, parks or forests, as they spoil the landscape and lower the recreational value of the areas. Garden waste dumped in nature makes forest beds more eutrophic, which increases nettles and other weeds.

A good option is to compost leaves, twigs, grass clippings and other garden waste at home. If the lawn is covered by a particularly thick leaf layer, gather them and store in compost, or shred with lawnmower and leave them on the grass. Branches and twigs should be cut in pieces or chipped. Wood chips can be mixed with leaf litter and used as a regulating material in a compost. Garden waste and small amounts of twigs can be taken to Sortti Stations or in case of larger loads, to the Ämmässuo Waste Treatment Centre. Reception is subject to a charge.

Invasive species prevention and burning of garden waste

Garden waste dumps form a major distribution route of invasive plant species, such as the giant hogweed and the Himalayan balsam, to the Finnish nature. As many alien species are able to grow new plants from tiny stem or root cuttings, do not compost them unless you are absolutely certain that the heat in the compost will kill the plants. Instead of composting, pack invasive species in garbage bags and dispose with solid waste.

The Länsi-Uusimaa Rescue Department does not authorise burning of garden waste or accept notifications thereof. Green waste burning is allowed in sparsely populated areas as long as it does not inconvenience neighbours. Green waste burning is prohibited when a forest fire risk warning has been issued, and at all times in densely populated areas due to smoke and unpleasant odours.