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Tallinn City Government, Estonia

English / Estonian


Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia, occupying an area of 159.2 km² with a population of 416,470. It is self-governing with a City Council and City Government, the Council’s executive body. The City Government’s Environment Department is responsible for all aspects of waste management, such as waste collection and transport, developing and handling waste recycling systems (including a network of waste stations and composting sites), and construction, closure and aftercare of the landfills used by the city.

Estonia waste management picture

Generally, waste quantities have been growing in Estonia over the last years, mostly due to rising industrial and economic production and consumption. The Estonian Waste Management Plan 2008-2013, in line with EU legislation, introduced waste prevention and minimisation measures, and aims at decoupling economic growth from waste generation. The national target is a recycling rate of over 50 per cent for MSW and similar waste by 2020. Biogas and high-quality compost are to be produced from organic waste, with the biogas used as energy source for public transportation.

Estonia is gradually and firmly moving towards better waste management. Several economic measures (pollution charge, producer responsibility principle, etc.) are in place to ensure sustainable management of waste flows such as packaging and WEEE, and have had a great positive impact on the amount of material recovered. However, while significant improvements have been made, municipal waste management – separate collection, and minimisation of waste disposal, especially of bio-waste – remains problematic. 77 per cent of collected municipal waste goes to landfills, only 14 per cent is recycled and 9 per cent composted. R4R will provide the Environment Department of Tallinn with an opportunity to learn about waste management practices and applied legal regulations in other countries, and to expand its expertise in bio-waste utilisation. The City Government would like to improve separate collection and waste sorting in Tallinn.

Tallinn’s Activities

The Environment Department of the City of Tallinn has been involved in several INTERREG IV projects related to environmental protection and sustainable development: IUWMM, concerned with optimising integrated urban waste management, and BECOSI, an ongoing project with the objective to map sites contaminated with hazardous waste.

As an R4R partner, the Department contributed its recent experiences with technologies such as biogas production in closed landfills and Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) production using mixed household waste. In 2013, the city hosted the 4th EG working session, as well as an interregional training session where the achievements of the project so far, the work quality, and the overall organisation will be discussed. A thematic review article was published by Tallinn City Government at the same time.

The city of Tallinn shared the following good practices with the other R4R partners and produced a report on improving the recycling system of municipal waste in Tallinn based on the examples of R4R best practices.

Learn where Tallinn City Government still sees room for improvements in terms of waste management.

For more information: Tallinn City Government

Conctact details
 Environment Department, Tallinn City Government
Harju 13
10130 Tallinn

E-mail: Aleksandr Taraskin
Telephone: + 372 6404 287


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