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Factsheet for Estonia

1. General facts

CountryEstonia (EE)
Surface area45,100 Km²
Population (thousands)1340
Population density30
Persons per household2.4
GDP per capita PPS68
GDP per capita
Household characteristics49% in densely populated areas (at least 500 inhab./km2)
2% in intermediate urbanized areas (100 - 499 inhab./km2)
50% in sparsely populated areas (less than 100 inhab/km2)
Gross value added21.1% Industry, including energy
8% Construction
28.8% Trade, transport and communication services
23.3% Business activities and financial services
15.6% Other services
3.2% Agriculture, hunting and fishing

2. Legislation overview

The main piece of waste legislation is the Act on Waste Management 2004, which sets the frame for waste management in Estonia. More specific provisions, e.g. on certain waste streams or waste treatment methods, are dealt with in a number of waste ordinances which are based on the main waste act.

2.2 National acts

ReferenceMain content
Waste Act
(RT1 I 2004, 9, 52), 2004
The Waste Act is the main document of waste legislation in Estonia. It is structured in 10 chapters:
1. General provisions
2. Waste management planning
3. Special conditions for handling hazardous waste
4. Waste management organised by local governments
5. Financing of development of waste management
6. Waste permits
7. Hazardous waste handling licence
8. Special conditions for collection of metal waste
9. Transboundary movement of waste
10. Maintenance of records and reporting
Waste Act
(RT1 I 2004, 9, 52), 2004
• Landfills are classified according to EU landfill directive 1999/31/EC (Waste Act, Art.34(4))
• Prohibition on deposit of untreated waste in landfills (Waste Act, Art.35)
• Prohibition on deposit of used tyres in landfills (Waste Act, Art.351)

2.2.2 National legislation

NameReferenceYear
BMW (Biodegradable municipal waste)Regulation of Ministry of the Environment (MoE) 16.01.2007, No 4 (RTL 2007, 9, 140) on procedure for the sorting of waste and the bases of classification of sorted waste2007
LandfillRegulation of Ministry of the Environment (MoE) 29.04.2004, No 38 (RTL 2004, 56, 938) on requirements for establishment, operation and closure of landfills2004
Waste incinerationRegulation of MoE 04.06.2004, No 66 (RTL 2004, 83, 1316) on requirements for establishment, operation and closure of incineration and co-incineration plants2004
no informationA general prohibition on deposit of untreated waste in landfills is foreseen (art 35, Waste Act); pre-treatment is not necessary if the amount of waste or its hazardousness cannot be reduced. From 1 January 2008, the prohibition on acceptance and deposit of unsorted municipal waste applies to all landfills.no i

2.2.3 Selected legislation

NameReference
PackagingPackaging Act (RT I 2004, 89, 611) Packaging Excise Duty Act (RT I 1997, 5/6, 31) Regulation of Estonian Government: 26.12.2004 No 346 (RTI 2004, 83, 561) on statutes of the Packaging Register; MoE Regulations: 23.03.2005, No 19 (RTL 2005, 37, 523) on size of deposits for packaging; 15.04.2005, No 24 (RTL 2005, 45, 622) on the markings indicating the size of deposit.
Construction/demolition wasteRegulated on municipality level with obligatory part of Local government waste management rules (Waste Act , Art.71)

2.3 Regional waste acts

Rules for organizing waste management within local governments are established by a regulation of the local government council.
These rules set out:
  1. The organisation of waste handling and storage and the relevant technical requirements, such as the type, material and size of collection containers and the base structure and location of the containers;
  2. The measures for preventing or, if this is not possible, reducing the health and environmental hazards resulting from waste, including regular removal of municipal waste from densely populated areas at least once a month;
  3. List of the waste transport areas within the territory of the local government where subscription to organised waste transport services is obligatory;
  4. Requirements for handling waste not covered by organised waste transport;
  5. The procedure for collecting hazardous waste produced by households, and for transferring that waste to an business or organisation holding a hazardous waste handling licence;
  6. The procedure for handling waste produced by persons providing health care or veterinary services within the territory of the local government;
  7. Requirements for handling construction and demolition waste not subject to organised waste transport;
  8. Waste collection site or sites where waste collected by organised waste transport services shall be delivered for further transport;
  9. Organisation of supervision over waste handling in the territory of the local government;
  10. Requirements for aftercare of the waste management facilities, except landfills, in the territory of the local government.
  11. Requirements for development of separate collection and sorting of waste, and the corresponding time limits for specific types of waste.

3. Waste management plans

A waste management plan relates to the situation of waste management in the state or local government, objectives for organisation and enhancement of waste management, and measures taken to achieve the objectives.
 
A waste management plan sets out:
  1. A description of the current situation of waste management and the main types, origin and quantities of waste to be recovered or disposed of;
  2. Estimated volume of natural resources such as water, peat, clay or soil used for waste handling;
  3. Environmental impact of implementation of the waste management plan;
  4. Objectives to be achieved, such as prevention of waste generation, reduction of the quantity and harmfulness of waste, waste recovery, environmentally sound disposal of waste and optimisation of waste transport;
  5. Means and measures for achieving the objectives, such as selection of the waste handling operations, a network of waste management facilities, measures for handling hazardous waste and other main types of waste, the necessary administrative measures for implementing the waste management plan, the environmental and health protection measures and the technological means to ensure their application, and the estimated cost of application of the measures;
  6. International optimisation of waste handling and international co-operation in waste management.

3.1 National plan

The first National waste management plan was set for years 2003-2007 and its goal was to harmonise national waste management with EU strategy and transpose and implement EU waste handling principles.

National plans are renewed every 5 years.
Period of implementation
Main features
National waste management plan, 2008-2013

3.2 Regional plans

Until to the year 2007 Estonia had three tiered (National, County and Municipal) system of waste plans. On 2007 Waste Act changed the system to two tiers - National and Local.
Local government waste management plan are part of the local government development plan, which deals with the development of waste management in the rural municipality or city. Several local governments may prepare a joint waste management plan. Upon preparation of a waste management plan, the provisions of the national waste management plan shall be taken into account.
In addition to that provided for National waste plan, a local government waste management plan shall set out:
  1. Development of waste transport organised by a local government within the administrative territory thereof, including designation of the area or areas covered by the organised waste transport;
  2. Development of separate collection and sorting of waste, and the corresponding time limits for specific types of waste;
  3. Financing of waste management.
 
All local waste plans are published in Estonian States Gazette (Riigi Teataja).
For example:
Waste plan of Saue Parrish: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/ert/act.jsp?id=12989576
Joint waste plan of Audru, Tõstamaa, Varbla, Lavassaare and Koonga Parishes: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/ert/act.jsp?id=12864995

4. Waste prevention for Estonia

4.1. Objectives

The Waste Act contains the waste hierarchy. The first principle of waste management is (Art. 21): “In any activity, all appropriate measures shall be applied to avoid waste generation and care shall be taken to prevent the waste generated from causing any excessive hazard to health, property or the environment.”
To achieve the objectives specified above, measures shall be taken in any activity, as far as possible, to:
  1. Implement the best available techniques for sustainable use of natural resources and raw materials, including technologies whereby waste is recovered to the highest possible extent;
  2. Design, plan, manufacture and import products which are, above all, durable and reusable, and which once discarded produce waste which is recoverable to the highest possible extent.
 

4.2. Targets

No waste prevention targets for specific waste streams have been specified.

4.3. Strategy

General rules for waste prevention are set in the Waste Act 2004. Furthermore this act authorises the Minister of Environment to adopt ordinances containing following waste prevention measures:

4.4. Policy instruments

4.4.1. Regulatory instruments

Overview

no information

Bans

Regulatory instrument
Titlemercury and cadmium
Waste streamBatteries, Accumulators
Yearno i
Legal documentno information
Regulatory instrument
Titlelead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium
Waste streamELV
Year2008
Legal documentRegulation of Estonian Government: 06.06.2006 No 154 (RTI, 2006, 33, 254) on Detailed List of Dangerous Substances which are Prohibited in Products of Concern and Prohibitions and Restrictions Established for Products of Concern
Regulatory instrument
Titlelead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, PBB, PBDE
Waste streamWEEE
Year2006
Legal documentRegulation of Estonian Government: 06.06.2006 No 154 (RTI, 2006, 33, 254) on Detailed List of Dangerous Substances which are Prohibited in Products of Concern and Prohibitions and Restrictions Established for Products of Concern
Regulatory instrument
Titlelead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium
Waste streamPackaging waste
Year2004
Legal documentPackaging Act (RT I 2004, 89, 611)

Other instruments

Regulatory instrument
TitleEco Design
ScopePackaging waste
Year2004
Transition periodNo information
ObjectivesNo information
TargetsNo information
Description- Volume and weight of packaging has to be reduced to the minimum
- Packaging has to be designed, produced and distributed in a way that reuse and recovery are possible
ImplementationPackaging Act (RT I 2004, 89, 611)
ResultNo information
Regulatory instrument
TitleEco Design
ScopeWEEE
Yearno i
Transition periodNo information
ObjectivesNo information
TargetsNo information
Description- EEE have to be designed in a way that disassembling and recovery, especially reuse and recycling of end of life products, its components and materials are considered and facilitated.
- Construction and production must not interfere with reusability
Implementationno information
ResultNo information
Regulatory instrument
TitleEco Design
ScopeELV
YearNo i
Transition periodNo information
ObjectivesNo information
TargetsNo information
Description- Limit use of hazardous substances in cars,
- consider recovery of materials when designing and producing cars,
- increased use of secondary raw materials
ImplementationNo information
ResultNo information

Additional info

According to Waste Act 2004, design, plan, manufacture and import products which are, above all, durable and reusable and which after they are removed from use produce waste which is recoverable to the highest possible extent.

4.4.2. Market-based instruments

Overview

Producer responsibility:
The producer is required to ensure the collection of waste resulting from products of concern manufactured, resold or imported thereby and the recovery or disposal of the waste, and shall have a sufficient guarantee for the performance of such obligations. The producer may choose whether to perform those obligations individually, to transfer them by written contract to a producers' responsibility organisation or to join a producers' responsibility organisation.

Deposit refund schemes are set for some packaging waste.

Additional info

no information

4.4.3. Information-based instruments

Overview

Where portable or automotive batteries and accumulators are sold there should be a sign indicating that end-of-life batteries and accumulators should be returned. The sign must be in Estonian, Russian and English. If there is a prominently displayed container for batteries and accumulators at the point of sale, then the sign isn’t needed.
Battery and accumulator producers must make and annual public information campaign through different media channels like national daily newspaper, magazine, TV or radio. Through information campaign producer must inform consumers of batteries and accumulators:
  1. the potential effects on the environment and human health of the substances used in batteries and accumulators;
  2. the desirability of not disposing of waste batteries and accumulators as unsorted municipal waste and of participating in their separate collection so as to facilitate treatment and recycling;
  3. the collection and recycling schemes available to them;
  4. their role in contributing to the recycling of waste batteries and accumulators;
  5. the meaning of the symbol of the crossed-out wheeled bin and the chemical symbols Hg, Cd and Pb.
Producers can organise common information campaigns for saving costs. Obligation of information campaigns enters into force in 1 January 2009.
Information based instruments, based on EU legislation
Information
Target group
Waste stream
Year of introduction (amendm.)
Legal document
-    Capacity (life span of products)
-    higher content of heavy metals
-    the potential effects on the environment and human health of the substances used in batteries and accumulators
Final consumer
Batteries, Ac­cumula­tors
2009
Regulation of Estonian Government: 07.08.2008 No 124 (RTI, 2008, 37, 221) on Requirements for Collection and Returning the Batteries, Collection Rates and Targets.
Waste prevention and waste management aspects (e.g. ecodesign)
Final consumer
ELV
 
 
Use of component and material coding standards, in particular to facilitate the identification of those components and materials, suitable for reuse and recovery
Disassembling companies
ELV
 
 

Additional info

no information

4.4.4. Voluntary instruments

Overview

Estonian Ministry of Environment has signed four Voluntary agreements with different companies and organizations. In principal there are no associated financial obligations to the parties of the contract. The Ministry informs the companies about expected changes in the environmental regulatory documents, involves companies in the preparation phase of such documents etc. The Companies undertake to fulfil certain environmental obligations that are not directly required in the regulatory documents, but that significantly improve the environment.

Additional info

no information

4.5 Waste prevention examples

Reuse centres
Due to faster changing living conditions, household equipment is replaced much quicker. That means that more and more household equipment is discarded long before the end of its lifetime. Reuse centres help to adapt to changing living conditions at lower cost, lower resource consumption and lower waste production.

5. Construction and Demolition Waste for Estonia

5.1. Objectives

No specific objectives have been formulated for C&D waste as such, only the general objectives of waste management are applied.
 

5.2. Targets

No specific collection or recycling targets for C&D-waste have been set.

5.3. Strategy

no information

5.4. Policy instruments

5.4.1. Regulatory instruments

Additional info

no information

5.4.2. Market-based instruments

Additional info

no information

5.4.3. Information-based instruments

Additional info

no information

5.4.4. Voluntary instruments

Additional info

no information

6. Biodegradable Municipal Waste - Estonia

6.1. Objectives

no information

6.2. Targets

For Biodegradable Municipal Waste, the NWP gives a general priority to separate bio-waste from mixed MSW; the NWP suggest separate collection of garden waste in cities and enhancing home composting in rural areas.
According to the NWP a strategy for reducing BMW has been defined. Landfilled municipal waste must not exceed the following limits for biodegradable content:

6.3. Strategy

The Estonian strategy to divert Biodegradable Municipal Waste away from landfills uses two approaches.
  1. Biodegradable municipal waste shall be collected separately in order to allow for recovery operations producing high quality products. The obligation for separate collection refers to bio waste and packaging paper waste.
  2. A ban of untreated waste going to landfills.

6.4. Policy instruments

6.4.1. Regulatory instruments

Regulatory instrument
TitleSeparate collection of packaging waste
ScopePackaging waste
Year2004
Transition periodno information
Objectivesno information
TargetsThe recovery targets for all packaging placed on the market are:
• 50% recovery by 2004
• 60% recovery by 2010
• EU norms by 2012
Descriptionno information
ImplementationEstonian Packaging Act, RT I 2004, 41, 278, www.pro-e.org
Packaging Excise Duty Act RT I 1997, 5/6, 31
Result2006 data:
Total recycling rate 45,7% (target 25%)
Total recovery rate 50,1% (target 50%)
Rate of recycling for each type of packaging:
Glass 48,5% Goal 15%
Plastic 33,7% Goal 15%
Paper 55,2% Goal 15%
Metals 52,5% Goal 15%
Wood 75,4% Goal 15%
Regulatory instrument
TitleBan on un-sorted landfilling
Scopeunsorted MSW; National measure
Year2004
Transition periodno information
ObjectivesReduce the quantity of waste or the hazard to environment and human health arising from it.
Targetsno information
Descriptionno information
ImplementationNational Waste Act art 35, 36, 113
Resultno information

Additional info

no information

6.4.2. Market-based instruments

Additional info

Scope:
User charge for municipal waste
Year of introduction:
1991
 
Rate(s):
The type, quantity and properties of waste collected, and other factors such as the frequency of collection determine the rate.
Purpose of instrument
Estonia has a direct system of contracts between MW generators and MW collection and transportation companies. The ’User charge’ is a fee for collection, transportation and disposal services and is paid directly to the company (which is usually a private-owned company). This fee includes all the waste management costs, also disposal costs (paid by waste collection companies to landfill operators for operation and closure of landfills) and ‘waste pollution charges’ (paid by landfill operators to municipality and state budgets 75:25).
Receiver
Waste collection company
Administrative level
Municipality has right to establish the limits of fees (NWA § 66)
Source of information
Speck et al (2006)
 
Scope:
Waste pollution charge for municipal waste disposal
Year of introduction:
1990
Rate(s):
EUR per tonne of waste:
1999: 0.10
2000: 0.12
2001: 0.15
2002: 0.18
2003: 0.21
2004: 0.26
2005: 1.92
2006: 7.80
2007: 7.80
2008: 8.50
2009: 10.03
Purpose of instrument
Promoting of waste recovery, financing of waste management projects via Environment Investment Centre and local budgets
Receiver
Revenues are shared: 75% to local budget, and 25% to state budget of the local government
Administrative level
State and the local governments (municipalities)
Source of information
Speck et al (2006)
 
Scope:
Separate collection of Packaging waste
Year of introduction:
2004
Purpose of instrument
The instruments concerning packaging waste separate collection and recovery are a deposit system (introduced in 2005) and a packaging excise duty (introduced in 1997).
Also, the Packaging Act introduced in June 2004 sets recovery targets for all packaging placed on the market and deposit system for one way and ‘multi-way’ packaging of beer, alcohol drink with low ethanol content and soft drinks in glass, plastic and metal packaging as of January 1, 2005. the recovery targets are:
·         50% recovery by 2004
·         60% recovery by 2010
·         EU norms by 2012
Estonian Packaging Excise Duty Act, RT I 1997, 5/6, 31; 2005, 37,288) establishes special packaging fee for sales packaging if the required reuse or recovery rate is not achieved.
Administrative level
National ERC (Estonian Recovery Association) and local authorities
Monitoring systems
Yes
Sanctions
Yes
Targets achieved
2006 data:
Total recycling rate 45,7% (target 25%)
Total recovery rate 50,1% (target 50%)
Rate of recycling for each type of packaging:
Glass 48,5% (goal 15%)
plastic 33,7% (goal 15%)
Paper 55,2% (goal 15%)
Metals 52,5% (goal 15%)
Wood 75,4% (goal 15%)
Other information of relevance
There are 2 national accredited packaging organisations in Estonia:
Estonian Recovery Organization (ERO) and Estonian PackCycling (EPC)/Eesti Pakendiringlus Estonian PackCycling (EPC)/Eesti Pakendiringlus.
Estonian Recovery Organization (ERO) is a non-profit organization. It finances its activities by levying a recovery fee. In compliance with the user-pays principle, the recovery fees are calculated on the basis of the material used, the weight of items sold. They also take account of the different costs incurred for collecting and sorting the packaging materials and, in the case of plastics, for recycling. The companies pay only for those items of packaging they put on to the Estonian market.
Once a company concludes a Client Contract, it has a right to attach the Green Dot to packaging circling in the ERO system. The Green Dot as a financing mark on packaging shows that industry and trade are making a financial contribution to the system.
 
Scope:
Ban on un-sorted landfilling
Year of introduction:
2004; to be applied from 1 January 2008
Waste streams banned
Unsorted MSW
Purpose of instrument
Reduce the quantity of waste or the hazard arising from it to environment and human health
Administrative level
Ministry of Environment and its County Environmental Authority issuing permits for Landfills
Monitoring systems
Estonian Environmental Inspectorate
Sanctions
Waste Act § 126. Deposit of untreated waste
(1) Acceptance of untreated waste, including mixed municipal waste which has not been sorted in compliance with the requirements of this Act in a landfill and deposit of such waste is punishable by a fine of up to 300 fine units.
(2) The same act, if committed by a legal person, is punishable by a fine of up to 50 000 kroons.
Targets achieved
The instrument is applied
Source of information
National Waste Act art 35, 36, 113, Regulation of Ministry of the Environment (MoE) 16.01.2007, No 4 (RTL 2007, 9, 140) on procedure for the sorting of waste and the bases of classification of sorted waste

6.4.3. Information-based instruments

Additional info

no information

6.4.4. Voluntary instruments

Additional info

no information

Results

Biodegradable municipal waste

no information

Construction and demolition waste

no information

Waste prevention

No information.

7. Bibliography

8. Country links to national waste information