Tasks and activities
Ekopulloyhdistys ry (Ekopullo) manages a deposit-based return system that includes refillable deposit glass bottles, deposit transport units for beverage containers, such as plastic trays, dollies and PAN pallets, owned by its member companies. Ekopullo’s transport units are primarily used to deliver packages belonging to return systems administrated by Suomen Palautuspakkaus Oy (Palpa); aluminium cans, plastic and glass bottles that are subject to a deposit and are recyclable as material. Ekopullo’s and Palpa’s deposit-refund systems offer a functional and resource-efficient overall solution for beverage deliveries for the beverage industry and wholesalers.
Ekopulloyhdistys ry is a non-profit association established in 2004. The operations of the association are funded by the entrance and membership fees paid by its members. Ekopullo acquires the required human resources and other services from Suomen Palautuspakkaus Oy (Palpa), in whose premises the association operates.
Beverage packages and the circular economy
Ekopulloyhdistys develops and promotes the reuse, repair and recycling of beverage packages and transport units subject to a deposit in cooperation with its member companies. The deposit-based system for beverage packages together with the reuse of transport units considerably reduces the amount of package waste and environmental impact. The deposit system also ensures that transport units damaged in use are returned into the system.
The service life of reusable transport units can be considerably extended by repairing damaged units with new or recyclable spare parts. The bottles and transport units are manufactured using standard raw materials, which ensures that the materials obtained from them after use are high-quality recyclable raw materials.
Sustainable development and the circular economy are comprehensively realized in Ekopulloyhdistys’ operations through the use of deposit-based units and their reuse, repair and recycling. The return rate of Ekopullo’s refillable glass bottles has remained very high in Finland for years. Consumers return approximately 97% of glass bottles placed on the market. Glass bottles are washed and inspected every time they are refilled. Glass bottles can be refilled 33 times on average.
Ekopullo develops its operations in cooperation with its stakeholder network – the beverage industry, distributors, the wholesalers, environmental companies, the packaging industry, authorities and organizations – both in Finland and abroad. The association cooperates with aforementioned parties for instance in matters related to the refilling, recycling and environmental aspects of packaging. The association prepares initiatives and statements for the authorities and follows industry developments.
The beverage industry and distributors
Ekopullo’s member companies have developed the refillable bottles and transport units in cooperation with wholesalers, distributors and the packaging industry in order to ensure their economical and resource-efficient use in the supply and return chain. Under Ekopullo’s management and steering, the total number of units in use can be optimised so that Ekopullo’s member companies have the necessary amount of units available at all times.
The Pirkanmaa ELY Centre (Pirkanmaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment) has approved Ekopulloyhdistys ry as a return system in the producer register. PIRELY is also responsible for monitoring compliance with the obligations related to return systems for refillable glass bottles. Ekopullo reports its activities to PIRELY for every calendar year.
Retail and HoReCa (Hotels, Restaurants, Catering)
The various functions and needs of retail stores and HoReCa customers have been taken into account in designing the system. Cooperation between the different parties improves the efficiency of the supply chain and the internal logistics of stores to obtain an optimal result from an overall perspective.