Updating and testing of a Finnish method for mixed municipal solid waste composition studies

M. Liikanen*, O. Sahimaa, M. Hupponen, Jouni Havukainen, Jaana Sorvari, M. Horttanainen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


More efficient recycling of municipal solid waste (MSW) is an essential precondition for turning Europe into a circular economy. Thus, the recycling of MSW must increase significantly in several member states, including Finland. This has increased the interest in the composition of mixed MSW. Due to increased information needs, a method for mixed MSW composition studies was introduced in Finland in order to improve the national comparability of composition study results. The aim of this study was to further develop the method so that it corresponds to the information needed about the composition of mixed MSW and still works in practice.

A survey and two mixed MSW composition studies were carried out in the study. According to the responses of the survey, the intensification of recycling, the landfill ban on organic waste and the producer responsibility for packaging waste have particularly influenced the need for information about the composition of mixed MSW. The share of biowaste in mixed MSW interested the respondents most. Additionally, biowaste proved to be the largest waste fraction in mixed MSW in the composition studies. It constituted over 40% of mixed MSW in both composition studies. For these reasons, the classification system of the method was updated by further defining the classifications of biowaste. The classifications of paper as well as paperboard and cardboard were also updated. The updated classification system provides more information on the share of avoidable food waste and waste materials suitable for recycling in mixed MSW. The updated method and the information gained from the composition studies are important in ensuring that the method will be adopted by municipal waste management companies and thus used widely in Finland. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalWaste Management
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Mixed municipal solid waste
  • Waste composition
  • Waste classification
  • Finland


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