Concepts and definitions

Domestic waste (Household waste)

Waste originating from the consumption of households. Waste generated outside the dwelling or its surrounds but produced by the household, such as waste motor oil left at the garage in connection with oil change of a motor car, is not regarded as domestic waste.

Energy recovery

Incineration of waste to recover the energy it contains.


The concept of environment refers to the physical, social and cultural factors that are present in the natural or built environment and with which humans have an interactive relationship. The environment is perceived above all as the human living environment on the state and quality of which human activity has a positive or negative impact.

Final disposal

Locating of waste permanently on a designated site reserved for it, such as a landfill.

Hazardous waste

Hazardous waste refers to waste whose chemical or other properties deviate from those of other waste so that it can endanger or cause harm to health or the environment and therefore has to be made harmless or recovered according to specific rules.

Industrial waste

Production waste generated in manufacturing industries. Wastes from energy supply and mining and quarrying are also sometimes regarded as industrial waste.


A landfill is a waste treatment site for the final disposal of municipal waste, hazardous waste or other waste, such as waste stone. At the decision of public authorities, a site for long-term storage of waste can also be designated a landfill.

Municipal waste

Municipal waste refers to waste generated in households and waste comparable to household waste generated in production, especially in the service industries. The general common feature of municipal waste is that it is generated in the consumption of final products in communities and is covered by municipal waste management systems.

Production waste

Waste generated in different industries in connection with production and the opposite to consumption waste, which primarily comprise municipal waste and waste comparable to it. Production waste is usually characteristic to each industry and its volumes vary considerably. Examples of production waste include all waste from manufacturing processes and waste stone from mining and quarrying. As in other industries, both production and consumption waste is generated in the production of services, although the majority of it tends to be consumption waste.

Resource recovery

Waste that can be recovered as energy (energy recovery) or by recycling. In recycling, the material contained in waste is returned back to production. Recycling of waste does not include reuse of second-hand goods.

Separately collected waste

Separately collected waste refers to waste that is collected for a specific purpose separately from mixed waste, which is made possible by sorting at source. Separately collected waste may comprise more than one waste material, e.g. biowaste.


A mixture of a liquid and a high percentage of finely powdered solid substance. In waste statistics the liquid of the mixture is included in the amount of waste, but not in the case of a sludge in which the liquid content is high compared to the solid matter.

Only the dry matter contained in the sludge from waste water treatment plants is regarded as waste in statistics.


Waste refers to any substance or object which the holder discards, or intends or is obliged to discard.

Waste classification

Wastes are classified according to their manner of generation, composition or some other factor. The "decree on the listing of commonest wastes and hazardous wastes" issued by the Ministry of the Environment about classification is used in waste management in Finland. It is based on the EU Commission's decision on the European List of Waste. Both the aforementioned list and the statistical classification of waste contained in the regulation of the European Parliament and Council on waste statistics are applied in the compilation of waste statistics.

Waste generated

The volume of waste expressed in units of weight that is generated within the national boundaries during one year. Wastes generated are usually classified by waste category or type and the generating economic activity incl. households.

Waste management

Organised activity for the purpose of collection, transport, recovery and final treatment or disposal or waste. Activities aimed at the prevention of waste generation are also regarded as waste management.

Waste recycling

Use of waste as raw material or other material. Energy recovery is not recycling even though it is resource recovery. However, ash can be recycled. Reuse of used goods, such as beverage bottles, is not recycling. However, reuse is part of waste management because it prevents generation of waste.

Waste treatment

Waste treatment refers to the recovery, neutralisation and final disposal of waste. Operations with which the composition, structure or other property of generated waste is changed in order to facilitate the activities listed above is also regarded as waste treatment.

Waste type (waste category)

A mixture of waste comprised of one or more waste components.

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Waste statistics [e-publication].
ISSN=2323-5314. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 29.1.2015].
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