The circular economy arrived in the streets of Espoo: get to know the actors of the circular economy
On Saturday, 28 August 2021, the annual city festival, Espoo Day, was celebrated with circular economy as this year’s theme. In Espoo, events were organised in a COVID-19 safe manner by residents, companies and other organisations, bringing out practical examples of what the circular economy is all about and how various actors are already doing important work in Espoo on the transition to the circular economy. Read about examples of the circular economy presented during Espoo Day below!
What is the circular economy?
The circular economy is a means by which our city can grow within the limits of the carrying capacity of the Earth. In the current economy (linear economy), materials are taken from nature to make products that are at some point thrown away. In a circular economy, however, everything is designed in such a way that there is no waste. This means that products and their parts remain in use for as long as possible and materials are only recycled into new raw materials at the final stage of the cycle. Circular economy solutions combine innovation, creativity and jobs. There were many different examples of that during Espoo Day:
Extending the life of products
Repairing clothes and extending their life are some of the principles of the circular economy and concrete ecological actions. Espoo Mending in Kauklahti offers environmentally friendly sewing services and helps to extend the life of clothes. On Espoo Day, the sewing workshop entrepreneur Tuuli Solhagen organised an outdoor event called Save Your Favourite Clothes. At the inspiration event, visitors got acquainted with clothes repaired and restyled using different techniques and received tips for their own repair projects and on related books.
At the Tuoliklinikka (‘Chair Clinic’) event held in the same yard, Lassen Taitotalo from Espoo shared information and experiences about the characteristics, durability, repairability, recyclability and value of chairs of different types and ages. Visitors came with their own questions and received support and instructions for their own repair plans. Lassen Taitotalo repairs and refurbishes wooden furniture of all ages and offers private instruction in woodworking and refurbishment.
On Espoo Day, the city was filled with various flea markets. Flea markets are an easy example of how products circulate and find new use in a circular economy. Espoo residents participated in Espoo Day by organising flea markets in their own yards or gathering, for example, in Träskända Park, at Keran Hallit or in Espoonlahti Sports Park. Cleaning Day was held at the same time as Espoo Day, which made it possible to celebrate the city festival, put unnecessary items into circulation and participate in a nationwide event in one’s own neighbourhood, all at the same time.
When items can no longer be used as such, their parts or materials can still be utilised in the circular economy. On Espoo Day, this was done at many events. In the Entresse library, Espoo residents learned how to make beanie hats out of old T-shirts. At the Entresse shopping centre next door, a community work was made of wheel rims and old T-shirts under the guidance of Tuunaajamutsi. Tuunaajamutsi is a programme service company organising community crafts activities for company events that help recover from stress, improve interaction and increase creativity. The activities combine circular economy, manual skills and mental well-being.
Large companies also participated in Espoo Day. For example, Fortum arranged tours of the recently completed heat pump plant, which is the largest in Finland and produces ecological district heat using purified waste water.
In a circular economy, it is very important to take account of the regeneration of nature. On Espoo Day at Glims Farmstead Museum, visitors could hear about beekeeping from Stan Jaš, taste different kinds of honey, admire a glass nest and paint bees’ nests. Bumblebee enthusiast Erkki Kaarnama was also there to present a bumblebee nest. Espoo School of Art organized workshops on the importance of animals in different folk beliefs and myths and on environmental art based on respect for nature and sustainable development. Clay and materials found in nature were shaped into animal figures, which remained in the woods of Leppävaara, Espoonlahti, Olari and Kauklahti to delight passers-by.
It is important to consider the potential of the circular economy already at the planning stage when designing products, buildings and cities. Have you ever wondered how much city planning affects sustainable development? At the Päiväksi arkkitehdiksi (‘Architect for a Day’) event organised by the Espoo City Museum on Espoo Day, city residents thought about the future of our city.
At many other Espoo Day events, circular economy was present in different ways, for example through the sharing of goods and places or the efficient use of premises. Many events also shown how skills, knowledge and help circulate in a circular economy too. The circular economy, like Espoo Day, is made by all of us. Welcome to the transition towards a circular economy!