26.11.2021 -

Plastic Recycling Is Moving Forward by Leaps and Bounds in Finland

Finland has ambitious environmental goals and targets for the years to come. One such target relates to the country’s recycling habits and the future is looking very promising and responsible according to experts. 

Recycling has and will continue to be a very important topic in Finland, despite the country’s positive results and efforts so far. Finns value their climate and their surroundings, preserving it should come as second nature. Finnish companies are also at the forefront of recycling and many of them lead by example. 

One such company is Lassila & Tikanoja, one of the most visible businesses in Finland. The company focuses on environmental services, industrial services, and facility services in both Finland and Sweden. Their efforts and assistance in ensuring Finnish recycling cannot be underestimated. 

“The attitude from Finnish companies towards plastic recycling is very good. Plastic companies especially have recycled their plastic rejects for decades in Finland”, says Mikko Mäenpää, the Product Manager at the Lassila & Tikanoja recycling centre in Merikarvia, Finland. 

However, despite the noteworthy positive attitude towards recycling, Mäenpää sees room for improvement. 

“Obviously there is still progress to be made in plastic recycling. There are a lot of plastics that do not recycle especially in agriculture and elsewhere. There is still work to be done, but the attitude is good and we are headed in the right direction so that we could recycle everything eventually”, says Mäenpää. 

What the big ones will do, the little ones follow

The European Union regulations state that at least 22% of plastic waste from businesses and consumers needs to be recycled, and in 2025 the requirement will be 50%. According to Suomen Uusiomuovi Oy, the combined value of plastic waste recycled by businesses and consumers in Finland is 42%, which means that nearly half of the nation’s plastics is recycled. Again, this comes down to Finns being responsible but also companies setting the example. 

“Companies have a big responsibility but so does the consumer. What the big ones will do, the little ones follow”, comments Mäenpää.

Less transporting, more recycling

Still, plastic recycling and recycling, in general, should be made easier in order to achieve better results.

“We should enable more plastic recycling in Finland. If we are talking about regular households outside populated areas, they are not able to sort everything, there aren’t enough drop-off points for waste nearby. This leads to transporting it further elsewhere, which many do. If plastic recycling would be easier, many more people would do it”, explains Mäenpää. 

Bright future ahead for Finland

Nonetheless, Mäenpää predicts that the years to come will be very promising for Finland in terms of plastic recycling. 

“The future is bright. Finland has a lot of expertise in plastic recycling and is developing all the time. Alongside mechanical recycling, there’s now chemical recycling and we are constantly looking for solutions to reduce burning plastics and keep them in circulation instead.”

“We are moving forward by leaps and bounds”, concludes Mäenpää. 

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