30.11.2023 valid documentation

Basic data of the statistics

Data description

The volumes of waste, amounts of waste treated, and changes in them are monitored in the waste statistics. The statistics cover all types of waste and waste components as allocated to the main industries of the national economy and households. The statistics are intended for social decision-making, for enterprises, other stakeholders and research. Statistics on the generation of waste and treatment of waste are compiled separately. Waste generated describes the amount of waste generated within the country’s borders during one year in tonnes. Waste treatment refers to the recovery and final disposal of waste, as broken down in accordance with the treatment method.

Statistical population

The Finnish economy (incl. households) constitutes the statistical population used in the waste statistics. Most of data for the statistics come from the supervision register of the Finnish environmental administration (YLVA), which in addition to the waste data of the largest facilities subject to environmental permit and operating in the production activities also covers a substantial proportion of other waste management actors. The YLVA data on the waste generated in the production activities are inflated to correspond to the economy as a whole. The data collection is supplemented with the mining register data kept by the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency, vehicle register data compiled by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency and obtained from Statistics Finland’s transport statistics, and the producer liability data reported to the Finnish environmental administration and collected by the ELY Centre for Pirkanmaa.

Statistical unit

The data on waste generation are produced in accordance with the sectoral aggregates specified in the reporting requirements laid out in the EU Regulation (2150/2002) on waste statistics, as broken down in the waste category aggregates listed in the Regulation. The waste generation data for the corresponding waste category aggregates are produced as broken down into the categories describing waste treatment methods. The data based on the YLVA supervision register of the Finnish environmental administration are collected by waste category entered in the European List of Wastes (LoW) and in accordance with the treatment codes (R/D) set out in the waste directive.

Unit of measure

Mass is used as the quantity measuring the amount of waste in the statistics, and tonne is used as the unit measuring the mass. In the waste statistics, the mass of waste is given as fresh weight for all waste except for the sludge wastes referred to in the reporting requirements of the waste statistics regulation of the EU. The mass of the sludge wastes is given as dry weight.

Base period

No indices are published in the statistics.

Reference period

The reference period of the statistics is a calendar year. In a small number of cases, it has been necessary to complement inadequate information by using the latest available data (usually the data from the previous reference year).

Reference area

The statistics cover the whole of Finland.

Sector coverage

The data are collected from the whole country (excl. Åland) on the basis of uniform criteria. The data for Åland are supplied by the statistical authority of Åland (ÅSUB). Statistics on the generation and treatment of waste are compiled separately. The statistics cover all industries and households.

Time coverage

The waste generation and treatment volumes are available as tables from 2004 onwards.

Frequency of dissemination

The statistics are published annually.

Accuracy, reliability and timeliness

Overall accuracy

The statistics are largely based on administrative register data and Statistics Finland makes every effort to correct any errors in them. The order and classification errors occurring in the original saving of the register data are the main sources of error. They only have a minor impact on the final statistics as the data are checked and corrected by Statistics Finland.


The statistics describe the waste generated and treated during one calendar year. Most of the data for each statistical year are obtained  by Statistics Finland for the compilation of the statistics approximately ten months after the end of the statistical period. The data on municipal waste are published 1.5 months after this date and the entire data on production and consumption waste 18 months after the end of the statistical period. Data are continuously updated until the date on which the statistics are released.


Compilation of the statistics is hampered by late availability of data used as a basis for the statistics and data of inadequate quality. As a result, it has often been necessary to postpone the release of the statistics by several weeks. The register data of the Finnish environmental administration, on which the statistics are largely based, are frequently more than 18 months late and still contain errors and inadequacies when received. Some of the administrative data obtained in aggregated form become available shortly before or after the release of the statistics, which means that unofficial preliminary data must be used for the statistics. If these administrative data became available at an earlier date, the statistics could also be published earlier. The statistics are based on EU Regulation on European statistics and some of the reporting data required under the regulation are not contained in the administrative data and Statistics Finland has not collected such data. Deriving the data from existing register data and other data sources would require time-consuming expert work and cannot be done using automation. If the data now missing from the register data but required for EU reporting coming under the scope of the statistics could be obtained from administrative data, such data could be published or the data could be made available more quickly.


Comparability - geographical

The statistics are in accordance with the criteria and definitions set out in the waste statistics regulation and the waste directive of the EU and the data are thus comparable with the statistics published in other EU countries.

Comparability - over time

The waste generation and treatment data are available as mutually comparable tables from 2004 onwards.
Statistics on wood waste have been changed from 2013 onwards to ensure that they can better meet the definitions listed in the waste directive. Logging waste residue is no longer classified as forestry waste and the statistics on industrial wood waste are fully based on the notifications made by enterprises on the generation and treatment of wood waste in the VAHTI information system of the Finnish environmental administration.
Compilation of statistics on wholesale and retail waste considered as municipal waste has become more accurate from 2015 onwards, which increases the total amount of waste classified as municipal waste and impact the ratios between different treatment methods.

Coherence - cross domain

The statistics describe the whole economy across industries and households and similar statistics are not compiled elsewhere. The statistics compiled by Statistics Finland are widely used by the Finnish environmental administration as a basis for reports on waste and waste management for international use. In terms of material flows, the producer liability reports on waste subject to producer liability prepared by the Finnish environmental administration cover smaller amounts of waste than the statistics of Statistics Finland, which cover all types of waste.

Source data and data collections

Source data

Statistics Finland does not collect statistics on waste. The statistics are largely based on the YLVA register data of the Finnish environmental administration, which covers the largest waste treatment operators and all facilities and operators subject to environmental permit at the level of regional administration. The above-mentioned data suppliers report nearly all their annual data electronically to the above-mentioned register, which covers most of the volumes of manufacturing and energy-generation industries. In the key industrial sectors, the register data cover nearly 100 per cent of the value of production, and the coverage is lowest in the food industry and in the mechanical forest industry. In most of the industries, the data cover at least 80 per cent of the waste generated and practically 100 per cent of professional treatment of waste. The mining register, the most important register data source for extractive industries, covers all operations in the sector.

Data collection

Statistics Finland and the Finnish environmental administration have concluded a cooperation agreement on making the YLVA data (the most important source of register data) available to Statistics Finland.  The YLVA data are automatically transferred to Statistics Finland in digital database format.

Frequency of data collection

The register data used for the statistics are collected once a year and, as the YLVA data accumulate, they are submitted to Statistics Finland at intervals of two weeks.


Data compilation

The analysis of the data in the YEIS system only involves the correction of data. In SAS, the inflating of the amount of waste generated to individual manufacturing industries is carried out using fairly old inflation coefficients. It has not been possible to update the coefficients in recent years due to the inadequacies of the old system and changes in the administrative data (VAHTI-YLVA data change in the Finnish environmental administration).  The amount of waste generated is inflated and the amount of waste treated is obtained from the data in practically non-inflated form as the data in question are total data. The breakdown of the total amount of municipal waste between households and services is produced by means of modelling. The method is based on more detailed data on the breakdown obtained from the HSY region. The method was originally developed by Ilmo Mäenpää and the background variable data used in it are updated in accordance with the latest available figures.

Data validation

Statistics Finland checks and validates the source data in its own YEIS system. The work is partially carried out on an automated basis using a range of different validation rules. The aim is to find and correct all major errors. The data are compared with previous years’ data and other data for the same year. Moreover, during the compilation of the tables, aggregate data are compared with data for earlier years. Some of the data are checked at unit level using the YEIS system and any errors are corrected by experts.

Principles and outlines

Contact organisation

Statistics Finland

Contact organisation unit

Economic statistics

Legal acts and other agreements

Compilation of the statistics is guided by the Statistics Act (280/2004, as amended 361/2013), the general act on the national statistical service. Only the necessary data that are not available from administrative data sources are collected from data suppliers. Index series are published so that no individual enterprise’s data or development can be deduced from them.

Confidentiality - policy

The data protection of data collected for statistical purposes is absolutely guaranteed in accordance with the Statistics Act (280/2004), the Personal Data Act (532/1999) and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), as well as the requirements of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679). The data materials are protected at all stages of processing with the necessary physical and technical solutions. Statistics Finland has compiled detailed directions and instructions for confidential processing of the data. Employees have access only to the data essential for their duties. The premises where unit-level data are processed are not accessible to outsiders. Members of the personnel have signed a pledge of secrecy upon entering the service. Wilful breaching of data protection is punishable.

Confidentiality - data treatment

The data protection practices used by Statistics Finland to encrypt unit-specific business data are applied.

Release policy

Statistics Finland’s release calendar lists in advance all the statistical data and publications to be released over the year. Statistical releases can be found under statistics-specific releases. The statistical data are released on the Internet at 8 am unless otherwise indicated. The calendar is updated on weekdays. Statistics Finland’s release calendar for the coming year is published in December each year.

Data sharing

There are no separate arrangements for data sharing as Statistics Finland does not take part in the collection of the data or in the costs arising from the collection. If coordination is required, the matter is discussed at routine stakeholder meetings.

Accessibility and clarity

The statistics are distributed via Statistics Finland’s publication system, which produces publications in HTML and PDF format and as database tables.

Data revision - policy

Revisions – i.e. improvements in the accuracy of statistical data already published – are a normal feature of statistical production and result in improved quality of statistics. The principle is that statistical data are based on the best available data and information concerning the statistical phenomenon. On the other hand, the revisions are communicated as transparently as possible in advance. Advance communication ensures that the users can prepare for the data revisions.

The reason why data in statistical releases become revised is often caused by the data becoming supplemented. Then the new, revised statistical figure is based on a wider information basis and describes the phenomenon more accurately than before.

Revisions of statistical data may also be caused by the calculation method used, such as annual benchmarking or updating of weight structures. Changes of base years and used classifications may also cause revisions to data.

Quality assessment

The statistics are part of the Official Statistics of Finland. Official Statistics of Finland (OSF) are a comprehensive collection of statistics describing the development and state of society. They comprise nearly 300 sets of statistics on 26 different topics. The producers of Official Statistics of Finland have approved a common quality assurance in which they commit to common quality criteria and quality assurance measures. The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. The good practices followed in the statistics are presented in Statistics Finland’s Quality Guidelines for Official Statistics handbook.

The quality description of the waste statistics can be found at (in Finnish):

Quality assurance

Quality management requires comprehensive guidance of activities. The quality management framework of the field of statistics is the European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP). The quality criteria of Official Statistics of Finland are compatible with the European Statistics Code of Practice. 

User access

The release dates of waste statistics are given in Statistics Finland’s release calendar and the statistics are made available to all users simultaneously through Statistics Finland’s publication system.

Revisions in statistics

Revision release

Statistical experts

Juha Espo
Senior Statistician
029 551 3463

The documentation released before 5.4.2022 can be found on the archive pages of the statistics.

Go to the archive page