Other frequently asked questions

How should I recycle old electrical equipment?

Households can deliver all discarded electrical and electronic appliances to the collection points, without any charge. The contact information can be found at www.kierratys.info or on the Web pages of the local waste management company. If the device is operable, you can offer it to a recycling centre or donate it.

From 2013 onwards, some stores have accepted used devices (see Where can you return the old appliance?).

The old appliance or lamp must always be returned n its entirety (not disassembled), without the packaging to a WEEE collection point or to a store. The lamps must be handled with care, in order not to break them.

What kind of stores accept used electrical appliances?

Both special stores and grocery stores accept discarded electrical and electronic appliances. The type of devices that stores accept depends on the size of the device and store (sales area).

At the store’s reception, the devices are divided into two groups, according to their size. 

The consumer may return a waste electrical and electronic equipment, with none of the external dimensions exceeding 25 centimetres, to stores of the following type, without any obligation to buy a new product:

  • Grocery stores selling electrical and electronic appliances, with an area of at least 1000 m2*
  • Special stores selling electrical and electronic appliances, with an area of at least 200 m2*

The size of the store refers to the sales area used permanently in business activities

The consumer can return the waste electrical and electronic equipment, with any of the external dimensions exceeding 25 centimetres, to the store, when purchasing a similar new device from that particular store.

* A grocery store refers to a store that sells mainly groceries.
* A special store refers to a store that sells special items (consumer durables); such as stores selling technical household appliances, furniture stores, hardware stores.

Why can’t I return my old device to any store I want?

Small stores have limited possibilities to collect and maintain electrical and electronic devices in a safe way.

Can I return my old electrical or electronic device to a store, although I am not buying a similar new device?

Small waste electrical and electronic equipment (none of the external dimensions exceeds 25 cm) may be returned, without any obligation to buy a new product, to grocery stores of at least 1000 m2 and to special stores of at least 200 m2. The return of any bigger devices requires purchasing a similar new device.

The discarded devices can be returned without any charge and without any obligation to buy to WEEE collection points that can be found at www.kierratys.info. There are over 400 points around the country.

Can I deliver my old electrical toothbrush to a store, if I buy a new shaver there?

Regarding large electrical and electronic devices (other WEEE), the store is only obliged to accept the old device, if the customer buys a similar new device. But the electrical toothbrush and razor are small WEEE items that can be returned, without any obligation to buy a new product, to grocery stores of at least 1000 m2 and to special stores of at least 200 m2.

Stores smaller than the above mentioned areas are not legally obliged to accept small waste electrical and electronic equipment, even if the consumer purchases a new device from there.

Why am I not allowed to discard a small curling iron or flashlight in mixed waste at home?

According to the law, the waste electrical and electronic equipment must not be discarded in mixed waste. Recyclable material can be collected even from small devices and used in the manufacture of new devices.

What happens to the collected devices?

The devices are delivered to treatment plants, where dangerous substances are first removed from them. These substances include mercury and lead, for example. After this, the reusable materials, such as glass, metal and plastic, are separated from the devices. They can be converted into new products or they can be part of a new product.

An undamaged device can also find its way to being sold again from the treatment plant.

All devices delivered to official collection points or to stores are processed primarily in Finland. The manufacturer communities co-operate with nine Finnish treatment plants and some recycling centres, as well as operation centres operated by subsidised employees.

Can I deliver my old laptop to a store’s collection point? Can someone access my personal data?

Electrical and electronic devices are collected in various containers, depending on the store. When returning a device containing a memory chip, make sure that there is a locked or sealed and secured data WEEE collection container in the store.

The data WEEE collection container is delivered sealed to the treatment plant. In the treatment plant, the seal is opened in a controlled way and the device components containing memory capacity are emptied or crushed.

What do I do if an energy saving lamp breaks?

If a cold lamp breaks, the mercury is left on the glass surface as droplets, as amalgam or as a mercury/iron layer in pieces of glass. The breakage of a single cold lamp is not dangerous (source: www.lampputieto.fi)

A damaged energy saving lamp must not be returned to a store. They must be delivered to a hazardous waste collection point, in a lidded container. Check the nearest hazardous waste collection point at www.kierratys.info.

Who is responsible for the collection and recycling of electrical devices?

Importers and manufacturers are responsible for the waste management of household appliances. These companies have created manufacturer communities, which take care of the collection and recycling in practice. Devices delivered to official collection points and to stores are processed primarily in Finland.

The operation is financed by recycling fees included in the product sales prices. This way, consumers may take their old electrical and electronic equipment to the WEEE recycling points (www.kierratys.info). Starting 2013, discarded electrical and electronic equipment have also been accepted in some stores.