Waste, waste handling and management
Local government bodies must organise waste management within their administrative territories. Residents must have an opportunity to collect waste separately.
To organize waste management, waste management rules are set. The rules include the handling of municipal waste resulting from the activities in the rural municipality or city, the procedure for handling hazardous waste, construction and destruction waste, the waste produced by persons providing health care or veterinary services and other waste considered important by local government. Waste management rules determine also the waste transport areas, requirements for supervision and health protection and the requirements for sorting and waste collection sites. A resident must adhere to the waste management rules that determine the place where to transport different types of waste in the territory of local government.
What will we gain by separate collection of waste? To put it briefly, for the sake of clean environment and saving natural resources. Every product becomes waste at some point and the product that has turned into waste is replaced with a new one. However, most products can be made using the materials of old products or the energy produced from them, thereby contributing to reducing the amount of waste reaching landfills and the burden on environment for obtaining raw material. Important reason for separate collection of waste lies also in their harmfulness. Hazardous waste can pollute air, soil, surface and ground water. Therefore, more strict measures must be taken upon handling hazardous waste in comparison with ordinary waste.
Many local governments have set up waste collection stations for the delivery of separately collected waste.
These waste collection stations are meant for the collection of such waste which cannot be collected to household trash containers - old furniture, large-sized construction and demolition waste or waste in need of special handling - electronics, tyres, hazardous waste. Usually, there are also containers for package waste in waste collection stations. Habitants can ask additional information from their local government or visit www.kuhuviia.ee.
Packaging waste is managed according to the producer responsibility principle. It means that enterprises bringing packaged goods to Estonia must ensure the collection and proper handling of packaging waste. In order to achieve this goal, package organisations responsible for national collection of packaging waste have been established.
A deposit has been established for the packages of mild alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. Eesti Pandipakend OÜ manages national system of the deposit for the packages of mild alcoholic beverages and soft drinks.
Producer responsibility principle applies also to the collection and handling of the waste of electricity and electronic devices and parts thereof, end-of-life vehicles and parts thereof, tyres and batteries and accumulators. Thus, the producers and importers of the aforementioned products are obliged to collect the waste resulting from their products and the user must have an opportunity to give the waste away free of charge. It is possible to return old electronic devices to the store free of charge, if you buy a new device from the same store. You can return a device for free of charge only when it belongs to the same type and serves the same purpose (e.g. refrigerator for a refrigerator). These devices can also be returned to the waste collection stations. You can put batteries and accumulators free of charge to the special collection boxes in the stores selling batteries and accumulators.