Sustainable solutions with circular economy

Published: 27.7.2020 10.42Updated: 18.1.2022 7.06
City bikes in Espoo.
City bikes are an excellent example of practical circular economy. The bikes are in shared use and can be borrowed from the bicycle stations when needed. Many companies offer similar lending services. 

People in Espoo are developing new circular economy products and services that help build a sustainable Espoo. Central themes include the services of sharing economy; utilising material, nutrient and energy streams; and urban food production. New solutions of circular economy are piloted in cooperation with companies, research organisations, the residents and associations.

Published in Länsiväylä 13/6/2020.

People in Espoo are developing new circular economy products and services that help build a sustainable Espoo. Central themes include the services of sharing economy; utilising material, nutrient and energy streams; and urban food production. New solutions of circular economy are piloted in cooperation with companies, research organisations, the residents and associations.

“We want to facilitate the growth of business based on circular economy and the creation of new jobs, and we also want to support the sustainable way of life of our residents and consumers,” says Development Officer Mia Johansson from the KIEPPI project.

Circular economy is an economic model, where the main goal is to save natural resources and use all materials as efficiently and sustainably as possible.

“In a traditional, linear economic model, goods are manufactured, used and disposed of. In circular economy, goods are designed to have a long service life, and they also maintain their value in the cycle as long as possible. This means that the process generates less waste and allows for the materials to be used as valuable raw material and for energy,” Johansson summarises.

In the future, sharing economy will also enable shared use of these goods instead of owning them. The city bikes in Espoo are a great example of a sharing economy service, where several users have access to a certain asset.

Innovative solutions support circular economy

The KIEPPI project by 6Aika, which promotes circular economy and the related business solutions in Espoo, focuses on the innovative solutions utilising circular economy especially in the Kera area, which is undergoing a renewal.

“KIEPPI is a part of the Sustainable Espoo development programme, which implements the City’s ‘Espoo Story’ and promotes carbon-neutral life in the City. Kera is an excellent example of a new sustainable urban environment that utilises the opportunities of circular economy. The area will be designed, built and developed based on the Espoo Story – and it is transforming into an international model of circular economy.”

All plastic in Espoo to be recycled

Efficient and well-functioning plastic recycling is one of the circular economy solutions that can be seen in the residents’ day-to-day life. Plastic recycling in Espoo is promoted, for example, by developing new solutions for sorting and recycling plastic, increasing plastic recycling in schools and early childhood education and studying the possibilities for utilising demolition or construction sites’ plastic waste in public construction, especially.

“The objective is for recycling plastic to become an easy and normal part of the everyday life of both residents and schools. Separate collection of plastic at worksites, on the other hand, helps improve material efficiency, thereby decreasing the amount of waste and the costs generated,” says Project Manager Reetta Jänis from the KIEPPI project.

The sorting, collection and reuse of plastic is promoted in Espoo together with the cities of Helsinki and Lahti and the businesses in the field through a ‘Closed plastic circle’ change process, coordinated by the Smart&Clean foundation. The main goal is for 60–70 per cent of the plastic in the Helsinki metropolitan area could be reused, instead of the current 6 per cent.

Jorma Mikkonen, director of corporate relations and responsibility at Lassila & Tikanoja says: “To achieve this ambitious goal, we need to utilise all possible measures. One sorting and recycling model cannot be applied to everyone and everywhere, which is why it is important to develop alternative ways of recycling plastic.”