Browsing by Subject "circular economy"

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  • Berg, Annukka; Antikainen, Riina; Kauppi, Sari; Kautto, Petrus; Myllymaa, Tuuli; Ruokamo, Enni; Salo, Hanna; Savolainen, Hannu (Finnish Environment Institute, 2019)
    SYKE Policy Brief 30.09.2019
  • D'Amato, D.; Korhonen-Kurki, Kaisa; Lyytikainen, V.; Matthies, B.D.; Horcea-Milcu, A-I. (Elsevier BV, 2022)
    Forest Policy and Economics
    Highlights •We investigated knowledge co-production on the circular bioeconomy in Finland. •We interviewed key organizations operating at the nexus of science and policy. •Co-production enabled by funding, similar mind-sets, and organizational / individual networks. •Tensions were ideological positions, funding, cross-sectoral/cross-discipline engagement. Abstract The circular bioeconomy is a highly scrutinized concept in Finland and internationally, with a high degree of polarization regarding forest utilization rates and distrust between certain actors. This offers an interesting case for an exploratory analysis of issues associated with knowledge co-production. Knowledge co-production entails the integration of different knowledge types and collaboration across multiple societal actors with potentially conflicting viewpoints and agendas. We interviewed key organizations operating at the nexus of science and policy in the processes of knowledge co-production regarding the circular bioeconomy in Finland, including representatives from ministries, universities, research institutes, innovation promoters, and interest organizations. Using qualitative content analysis, we assessed the actors' tacit knowledge and perceptions regarding 1) their role in knowledge co-production across knowledge types; 2) elements enabling knowledge co-production; and 3) tensions and needs/opportunities of knowledge co-production. To frame our data collection and analysis, we particularly draw from recent sustainability science literature on knowledge types in co-production. The findings reveal that the three main knowledge types – lay, expert, and scientific – are acknowledged by all actors, but are dealt with, to different extents, according to the roles played by different actors in the process of knowledge generation. Collaboration was reported to be largely project-oriented, enabled by funding, similar mindsets, and organizational/individual networks. Tensions included conflicting ideological positions held by various actors in the circular bioeconomy, mainly hampering the co-production of normative/target knowledge; funding-induced gaps and risks in inter-actor cooperation, mainly affecting process/system knowledge of the circular bioeconomy; and gaps and difficulties in cross-sectoral and cross-discipline engagement, mainly affecting predictive/transformative knowledge. Knowledge synthesis, policy-supporting knowledge, and transformative knowledge were perceived by several interviewees to be important avenues towards improving the sustainability potential of the Finnish forest sector.
  • Berg, Annukka; Antikainen, Riina; Hartikainen, Ernesto; Kauppi, Sari; Kautto, Petrus; Lazarevic, David; Piesik, Sandra; Saikku, Laura (Finnish Environment Institute, 2018)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 26/2018
    As a new paradigm for economic development, the circular economy has significant environmental, economic and social benefits at the global scale. The circular economy concept highlights the notion of replacing the ‘end-of-life’ in current production and consumption practices by reducing, reusing, and recycling products and materials in production, distribution and consumption processes. Promoting circularity aims to accomplish sustainable development, and the circular economy has links to many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by the United Nations in 2015. This report is a background contribution asked by the Independent group of scientists writing the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2019. The GSDR 2019 is the first in a series of comprehensive, in-depth Reports that will be produced every four years to inform the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development convened under the auspices of the General Assembly. Thus, this background report seeks to provide a condensed package on the circular economy; the concept, its history, potentials, business opportunities, management and measurement. Some of the key messages entail that moving towards a circular economy presents vast opportunities for businesses of various kind, and that increasing the material circularity of economy can also be a way to alleviate poverty. Yet, the systemic and disruptive changes required for a circular economy transition will not take place without significant changes to existing regulatory structures.
  • Anttonen, Markku; Lammi, Minna; Mykkänen, Juri; Repo, Petteri (2018)
    The Triple Helix concept of innovation systems holds that consensus space among industry, government and university is required to bring together their competences to achieve enhanced economic and social development on a systemic scale. In line with this argument, this article analyses empirically how the concept of circular economy is conceived in the institutional spheres of "industry", "government" and "university". Innovation systems are constantly being reconstructed through knowledge production and communication, which is reflected in how concepts develop in the different spheres. By applying natural language processing tools to key contributions from each of the three spheres (the "Triple Helix"), it is shown that, although institutional backgrounds do contribute to differing conceptualizations of circular economy, there is a substantial but limited conceptual consensus space, which, according to the Triple Helix, should open new opportunities for innovations. The consensus space shared across the three spheres focuses on materials and products and sees circular economy as a way to create new resources, businesses and products from waste. The industry sphere highlights business opportunities on global scale, which are also evident in the government sphere. The government sphere connects circular economy to waste-related innovation policies targeted at industrial renewal, economic growth, investments and jobs. The university sphere, in turn, focuses on production and environmental issues, waste and knowledge, and is rather distinct from the two other spheres. The importance of the differing conceptions of circular economy is based on the logic of Triple Helix systems. Accordingly, sufficient consensus between the Triple Helix spheres can advance the application of the concept of circular economy beyond the individual spheres to achieve systemic changes.
  • Rosemarin, Arno; Macura, Biljana; Carolus, Johannes; Barquet, Karina; Ek, Filippa; Järnberg, Linn; Lorick, Dag; Johannesdottir, Solveig; Pedersen, Søren Marcus; Koskiaho, Jari; Haddaway, Neal R.; Okruszko, Tomasz (Elsevier, 2020)
    Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
    This paper summarizes key findings from a series of systematic reviews and comprehensive efforts to collate evidence and expert opinions on circular solutions for recovery and reuse of nutrients and carbon from different waste streams in the agriculture and wastewater sectors. We identify established and emerging approaches for transformation towards a more circular nutrient economy with relevance to SDGs 6 and 14. The paper cites the example of the Baltic Sea Region which has experienced decades of fertilizer overuse (1950s–1990s) and concomitant urban sources of excessive nutrients. Regulations and incentive policies combining the nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon cycles are necessary if circular nutrient technologies and practices are to be scaled up. Pricing chemical fertilizer at levels to reflect society’s call for circularity is a central challenge. Highlights • Development of a circular nutrient economy in the EU is reviewed. • The socio-economic value of organic waste products from agriculture & municipalities needs to increase. • Opportunities are found in the new EU Circular Economy Package & Fertilizing Products Regulations. • Further implementation is possible with the Common Agriculture Policy (nutrient management tool) and Waste Framework Directive for recycling. • The Baltic Sea Region case is explored being sensitive to eutrophication with ongoing international efforts to introduce nutrient circularity.
  • Suokari-Pärssinen, Mari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    The aim of the study was to investigate cornerstones of a communications strategy for a start-up specializing to wood-based packaging materials. These include packaging materials, which are produced in a sustainable way and decrease environmental load with their biodegradability. These cornerstones are basis for a globally profitable and competitive business. Literature review and qualitative interviews were used as a method. The circular economy business model enables a new way to operate and generate competitive advantage for a start-up. The plastics industry claims biodegradability of some forms; the communication challenge of the competitors is to prove these arguments false. Launching world-wide renewable wood-based packaging material to consumers and to packaging industry requires co-operation between all stakeholders. To be a true alternative to plastics, the product must be based on sustainability principles, recyclability and compostability. To avoid greenwashing, all communication must be based on reliable and verifiable information. The developed communications strategy addresses all the aforementioned challenges. The communications strategy focuses on younger generation consumers and rely on their ability to utilize social media in their communications. A circular economy start-up company must outperform plastics packaging manufacturers economically, environmentally and socially with sustainable packaging solutions. Nevertheless, based on this thesis, sustainability is a valid selling and communications argument. The interviews conducted by this thesis support this finding.
  • Ruokamo, Enni; Räisänen, Milja; Kauppi, Sari (Elsevier BV, 2022)
    Journal of Cleaner Production
    This study investigates consumer experiences and perceptions of products and packaging made of recycled plastics and examines factors that are linked with the attractiveness of such applications. Generally, the drivers and barriers related to the demand for recycled plastics are not thoroughly understood. To study these, a survey was conducted in Finland. The results reveal that 93% of consumers of recycled plastic applications are satisfied with the acquired products and would buy the products again. The use of recycled plastic is stated to have positively affected purchase decisions of 86% of consumers. The results imply that females, younger people, those who recycle, and those who are environmentally conscious are likelier to think that the use of recycled plastics increases product attractiveness. However, developers and producers should pay attention to availability, product selection and labeling of recycled plastics. The study provides information on potential customers, marketing strategies, and appreciated product characteristics for developers, manufacturers, policy-makers, and researchers in the plastic field. Highlights • Consumers are mainly satisfied with the products made of recycled plastic they own. • The use of recycled plastic seems to positively affect purchase decisions. • Many product- and consumer-specific factors impact attractiveness of recycled plastic. • Product selection, availability and labeling should be improved.
  • Gaddis, Jonathan Andrew (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The purpose of this study is to explore the economic and operational environment factors that are contributing to the development of the secondhand smartphone market. The secondhand smartphone market is a fascinating subject. The market is relatively young, only coming into existence in the last eighteen years after the introduction of the first smartphones. However, it is in recent years that the market has seen massive growth and is considered to hold a great amount of potential for further growth. The case of secondhand smartphones and its growth are intriguing from a circular economy perspective. The example that smartphones represent for product life extension, added value creation and circular flows of consumption via systems of recycling, refurbishing and reselling offer insight into the potential of circular economy frameworks for other industries and product categories. Seeking to understand what factors are contributing to the secondhand smartphone markets development also offers insights for actors, such as businesses, policy makers and academics. Such research enables the various actors to better understand the dynamics of their operating environment. Essentially, understanding what factors are contributing to the market’s development allows actors to make more informed decisions, to develop sound strategy and to allocate resources. This study was conducted as a combination quantitative and qualitative research. A quantitative approach has allowed for the sampling of a population of industry actors and to measure specific concepts, such as economic factors, via a survey. With the procurement of such data statistical analysis has been applied to understand the frequencies, correlations, and significance of the specific concepts under measurement. A qualitative approach has allowed for a more in-depth understanding and context of the survey results or where the survey results have been minimal. The results show a tendency for the business environment to be populated by companies that are vertically integrated, relatively new enterprises and have relatively small annual revenues. Additionally, the results show several clear factors that are contributing to the secondhand market’s development. The factors highlighted include the following: - The price of wholesale stock is not the main point of supply competition. With other sales terms playing such as available volumes, payment terms and stock quality playing a major role in terms of competition. - The improvement over time in the availability of smartphone devices on the wholesale market. - The strong role of relationships and developing long term partnerships. - The low barriers to entry and ease of acquiring secondhand smartphones on the wholesale market. - The growth in business networks and the need for specialization in business acumen and establishing industry wide standards. - Repairability of new models of smartphones is critical to growth and the protectionist position of OEMs. The finding paints a picture of a business environment that has low barriers to entry, generally localized small players.
  • Salmenperä, Hanna (Elsevier, 2021)
    Journal of Cleaner Production 292 (2021), 125986
    The European Union has set strict recycling targets for municipal solid wastes, but the implementation of circularity is still hindered by a variety of present set-ups. This paper addresses the recycling transitions and their complex nature in Austria, Sweden and Finland and points out the differences that are connected to the level of success in recycling. Furthermore, this study identifies present lock-ins in the waste management regime to provide an understanding on the factors preventing further development towards a recycling society. This is done by analysing different waste policy documents and interviews of national waste experts. The study employs the multilevel perspective (MLP) framework that is a commonly used approach in sustainability transitions research. The results highlight the variety of social, political, technical and economic elements, but also the connections between them that result in a stable regime. The pathways to achieve the recycling society differ between Austria, Sweden and Finland. National waste policy, the division of responsibilities, the variety of infrastructure and collection systems in waste management, the level of general awareness, public-private co-operation and the quality of waste data act as key characteristics that reflect the success in the recycling transition. Identified lock-ins for recycling seem to be slightly stronger in Finland compared to Austria and Sweden, while some of the lock-ins are the same in all countries, such as incineration capacity, malfunction of markets of recyclables or lack of product design for recyclability.
  • Huisman-Dellago, David (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Dairy farms account for a large portion of the greenhouse gas emissions in the planet. Since cow manure provides a good medium for anaerobic digestion, this study analyzes the economic feasibility of installing a biogas plant adjacent to a 200-cow farm in Finland. The farms in this study produce only cow manure and grass silage to feed the digester. This paper focuses in comparing different scenarios such as electricity production for farm needs and the production of biofuels such as compressed biomethane as an additional business activity. After designing the farm economic model and the biogas installation, we provide an economic analysis of each scenario. The first one shows that it is not feasible to run the biogas business model based only on electricity savings for the farm. The second one proves that additional revenue streams such as biofuel production can revitalize and strengthen the financial model of the plant. Then, the sensitivity and reliability of the model is discussed by providing reasons (i.e. Finnish electricity tariff system) for the outcome of the results. The model reinforces the idea that farms must base their biogas business model on alternative side-streams and do not rely on energy production only. For further research, it is recommended that real life farm business models are incorporated as input data and a proven plant and CHP engine energy balance is secured.
  • Macura, Biljana; Piniewski, Mikolaj; Ksiezniak, Marta; Osuch, Pawel; Haddaway, Neal R.; Ek, Filippa; Andersson, Karolin; Tattari, Sirkka (Springer Nature, 2019)
    Environmental Evidence 8, 39 (2019)
    Background Agriculture is the main sector responsible for nutrient emissions in the Baltic Sea Region and there is a growing pressure to identify cost-effective solutions towards reducing nitrogen and phosphorus loads originating from farming activities. Recycling resources from agricultural waste is central to the idea of a circular economy, and has the potential to address the most urgent problems related to nutrients use in the food chain, such as depletion of natural phosphorus reserves, water pollution and waste management. This systematic map examined what evidence exists relating to the effectiveness of ecotechnologies in agriculture for the recovery and reuse of carbon and/or nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) in the Baltic Sea region and other comparable boreo-temperate systems. Methods We searched for both academic and grey literature. English language searches were performed in 5 bibliographic databases and search platforms, and Google Scholar. Searches in 36 specialist websites were performed in English, Finnish, Polish and Swedish. The searches were restricted to the period 2013 to 2017. Eligibility screening was conducted at two levels: title and abstract (screened concurrently for efficiency) and full text. Meta-data was extracted from eligible studies including bibliographic details, study location, ecotechnology name and description, type of outcome (i.e. recovered or reused carbon and/or nutrients), type of ecotechnology in terms of recovery source, and type of reuse (in terms of the end-product). Findings are presented here narratively and in a searchable database, and are also visualised in a web-based evidence atlas (an interactive geographical information system). In addition, knowledge gaps and clusters have been identified in the evidence base and described in detail. Results We found 173 articles studying the effectiveness of 177 ecotechnologies. The majority of eligible articles were in English, originated from bibliographic databases and were published in 2016. Most studies with reported locations, and given our boreo-temperate scope, were conducted in Europe and North America. The three most prevalent ecotechnologies in the evidence base (collectively 40.7%) were; soil amendments, anaerobic digestion and (vermi)composting. Manure was the principal waste source used for recovery of nutrients or carbon, making up 55.4% of the all studies in evidence base, followed by a combination of manure and crop residues (22%). There were 51 studies with 14 ecotechnologies that reported on recovery of carbon and nutrients together, predominantly via (vermi)composting and anaerobic digestion. Only 27 studies focused on reuse of recovered nutrients and carbon through soil amendments. Conclusions This systematic map report provides an evidence base that can be useful for researchers and decision-makers in policy and practice working on transformation from linear to circular economy in the agricultural waste sector. Three potential topics for future systematic reviews are: (1) effectiveness of products recovered from different types of agricultural wastes as soil amendments or fertilizers; (2) effectiveness of anaerobic digestion as an ecotechnology used for recovery of nutrients and carbon; (3) effectiveness of composting and/or vermicomposting as ecotechnologies used for recovery of nutrients and carbon.
  • Syrjälä, Sami (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Electronic waste is the fastest growing type of waste stream in the world, and this development results from the rapidly accelerating digitalization. Electronic devices become obsolete on an accelerating speed, as there are constantly more powerful devices coming to the market. The most significant environmental impacts of this development are greenhouse gas emissions and natural resource consumption. Circular economy has been proposed as a solution to these environmental challenges, and the goal of this approach is to preserve the value of the materials in the circulation as efficiently as possible. One way of implementing the principles of circular economy is the product-as-a-service-based business model. This research examines the differences between the product-as-a-service-based model and ownership-based model in terms of the environmental impacts that are related to the laptop and tablet procurements. The results of this thesis will be utilized in implementing the actions of the City of Helsinki’s Roadmap for Circular and Sharing Economy. This research was conducted as streamlined life cycle assessment, in which the systematic literature review was used for tracking the environmental impacts of the products’ life cycle stages and components. In addition, expert interviews were carried out in order to collect information about the reuse and recycling practices of the supplier companies that follow these previously mentioned business models. Finally, based on the results of the systematic literature review and the interviews, the company specific differences were assessed in terms of the greenhouse gas emissions and material waste that result from the procurements. The City of Helsinki’s annual procurement volumes were used in this assessment. Based on the results of this research, production and use are the most significant life cycle stages in terms of the devices’ greenhouse gas emissions. Printed circuit boards/printed wiring boards, integrated circuits, displays, and casings are the components with the most significant impact. The results suggest that increasing the lifespan of the devices provides opportunities for significantly lowering impacts in both impact categories, if the devices are efficiently recycled after this.
  • Penttilä, Matias (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    E-waste (WEEE) is a significant source of Critical Raw Materials, which are materials that EU has deemed to be extremely important for its industry and at risk of supply disruption. However, the recycling rate from WEEE for most of these materials is very low, which is in direct contradiction to EU’s Circular Economy goals and industrial strategy. The goal of this thesis is to identify the shortcomings of EU WEEE legislation in promoting the circular use of CRMs, and then pinpoint the most critical issues that the legislation should pay attention to in order to improve the situation. The method used in the work is regulatory theory. The thesis finds that the current WEEE legislation is based around the previous generation of waste management issues, e.g. landfill capacity concerns, and does not take into account properly the current challenges of material efficiency and circularity. Improving the recycling rate of CRMs will require targeted legislative and policy action in key parts of the life cycle of electronics.
  • Myllymaa, Tuuli; Pitkänen, Kati; Karppinen, Tiina K. M.; Savolahti, Hanna; Dahlbo, Helena; Judl, Jáchym; Neuvonen, Jouni; Ahponen, Hannele; Lepistö, Katja; Savolainen, Hannu; Ukkonen, Aino; Rehunen, Antti; Nurmio, Kimmo; Karhinen, Santtu; Alhola, Katriina; Kautto, Petrus; Salmenperä, Hanna; Haavisto, Teija; Holma, Anne; Mönkkönen, Ida; Antikainen, Riina; Kaminen, Kaarina; Turunen, Sara; Alt, Sami; Sederholm, Camilla (Finnish Environment Institute, 2021)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 19/2021
    A Europe-wide circular economy policy was launched in 2014 when the European Commission published the first strategic policy programme for circular economy. It was compiled to provide very comprehensive impacts and dimensions of sustainable development: sustainable growth and a climate neutral, resource efficient and competitive economy. The targets of a circular economy are that the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, economic growth is decoupled from resource use, generation of waste and environmental loads are minimised, and pressure on the Earth’s resources and biodiversity is minimised. The European Union is supporting the sustainability transition with research and development funding. In Finland, Circwaste – Towards Circular Economy is one of the biggest development projects accelerating the transition to a circular economy. During the period 2016–2020, the project has produced monitoring data on the development of circular economy and the sustainability of waste management, highlighted the circular economy concept, promoted stakeholder collaboration, supported strategic national processes, strengthened know-how and mainstreamed and concretised circular economy thinking. This interim report presents all the relevant results so far. It is crucial that data is produced from different angles on implementing the circular economy. More information is needed both to support decision making and on connections between and reflections on different factors. The key figures for Finland show quite clear coupling of the use of natural resources, waste amounts and economic growth. The circular material use rate is ca. 7%, which can be considered quite modest. Quantitative national targets for decreasing the use of natural resources are needed. Instead of country comparisons, the focus should be on trends in order to learn from the past and to identify the policy instruments needed to achieve the level aspired to. One of the key findings is the need for regional indicators and data for decisionmaking. The work done within Circwaste is the first effort towards a systematic monitoring scheme for monitoring circular economy regionally. The study showed that the production of regional waste data is challenging, that the estimated recycling rates have not increased adequately to reach the EU targets and that there could therefore be a need for municipallevel recycling targets. The transition to a circular economy also causes fundamental social changes in society. In the project, new indicators were developed for measuring social impacts: circular economy employment, education and employment for vulnerable groups, publicly shared resources, accessibility of recycling services and sustainable vehicle fuels. The first baseline data show advances towards the circular economy: the accessibility of waste management services has improved, the Finnish educational system has been able to respond quickly to the need for circular economy education, circular economy activities have potential for the employment of vulnerable groups and economic activities related to recycling, repair and reuse have grown. The regions and municipalities emerge as key actors in facilitating a socially just transition towards a circular economy. The study on innovative material processing technologies gathered data on technologies for elemental recycling, especially for plastic waste but also for making new fibres from textiles waste. Financial issues are key to the survival of these technologies and there is a need for governmental financial support. Public procurers can be considered key players in the circular economy, creating demand for more sustainable products and services. Implementing circular economy in municipalities requires commitment, financial planning, interaction with regional actors and inclusion of circular economy in financial rules. The construction sector is a major consumer of natural resources, but the municipalities can make construction more sustainable through public procurements and planning. As buyers, they can require the use of recycled raw materials and soils in construction projects. Obligations for ecological compensation and goals of no net loss of biodiversity would decrease the pressure on natural resources. To support municipalities in their work, a national organisation for providing municipal auditing, development, education and business support services could be established. Employing circular economy experts in each municipality to work as crossadministrative coordinators could enhance the transition. The project has created a lot of political, theoretical and practical content on the concept and field of circular economy. The next steps are to further develop and widen, as well as deepen, the results and to provide national support in searching for answers and solutions for decreasing the use of natural resources, achieving the MSW recycling targets and creating a more sustainable society.
  • Veijonaho, Simo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Growing exploitation of natural capital has raised a concern towards Earth’s capability to provide equal benefits for all in the future. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals addressed this issue and set the framework for private and public operators to implement and develop more sustainable solutions. Circular economy and bioeconomy have been presented as models to foster the economy along with sustainability transitions. However, the models have been criticized for taking overall sustainability for granted. As a result, the merged concept, circular bioeconomy, has been introduced to address such sustainability gap. The circular bioeconomy concept implies a more efficient resource management of bio-based renewable resources by combining the concept of circular economy and bioeconomy in strategic management level. These new concept demands both new technological innovations and new business model innovation. This study explores similar and dissimilar patterns in the way Finnish SME propose, create and deliver value through circular bioeconomy business models. The study examines the relation of new concept to sustainability as well. The study was based on qualitative research, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight company managers or owners. The data were categorized into business model components and sustainable business model archetypes. The results revealed that sustainability-oriented business model archetypes vary across the examined companies. Dominant ideas are substituting fossil-based materials and energy with bio-based one, and practices enabled by new technology such as production eco-efficiency. More radical principles were missing, for instance prolonging the material cycle before incineration or solutions to reduce consumer consumption. While environmental value was well covered in the business models of companies, contribution to social value was taken for granted as a narrow outcome of economic and environmental values. As this study concerned the micro level perspective, for further studies would be beneficial to examine the meso and macro level transformation to get a more holistic view on business environment, where companies with circular bio-product innovations operate to reveal implementation barriers for the circular bioeconomy.
  • Nylén, Erkki-Jussi Antero; Salminen, Jani Markus (2019)
    Resources, Conservation and Recycling 149 (2019), 532-540
    Since entering the waste policy debate in the 1980s, the sustainability discourse has sought to find alternatives to end-of-pipe solutions. The latest development on this path is the emergence of the circular economy, which aims to close the loop of the current linear economy. This case study analyses a substantial Finnish waste policy reform that has been underway since the late 1990s. The objective of the reform has been to create a decree that streamlines waste utilisation in earthworks. The decree was prepared between 2000 and 2006, and then reformed between 2015 and 2018. We analysed the discursive spaces of both phases and compared them to interpret the changes in the discourse of waste policy. The discursive space in the preparation phase was structured by the tension between the discourses of resource efficiency and precaution, but in the reform, the emergence of the circular economy diversified the discursive space. The thinking regarding the circular economy has added complexity, competition, and struggle to waste policy, but also enhanced the role of upcycling.
  • Räisänen, Milja; Mosoni, Claire; Kauppi, Sari (Finnish Environment Institute, 2022)
    Reports of the Finnish Environment Institute 25/2022
    The global plastics challenge has evoked countries to take action to reduce the environmental and health impacts of plastics. Measures are being taken both internationally and nationally to curb the harmful impacts of plastics and to create a sustainable circular economy of plastics. The EU is steering its member states in the right direction through a number of regulatory instruments, the most recent being the SUP Directive (EU) 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment, which is currently being implemented in member states. The measures and schedules for their implementation vary from country to country and include both voluntary and statutory measures. This report presents the strategies of selected European countries to address the plastics challenge. The Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland), the large countries (France, Germany and United Kingdom, England and Scotland in particular) and the Netherlands, a pioneer in the circular economy, are included. Information was compiled primarily from countries' plastics strategies and other administrative documents and websites during the fall and winter of 2020 and early 2021. In addition, a short survey was carried out for supplementary information in fall 2020, directed to IG Plastics working group of the EPA Network. The survey was repeated in February 2022 to obtain updated information. The amount of information found varied between countries. In addition, the use of available information was limited by the fact that some countries mainly produce information in their own language. The identified policy instruments can be categorized into regulatory, market-based, informative and financing measures, and voluntary agreements. In addition to these, the transition towards a sustainable circular economy of plastics is supported by research and development activities that build knowledge and bring changes to various stages of the plastics value chain. Substitutes for traditional plastics, such as bio-based and biodegradable plastics, are being developed. There is significant potential in bioplastic, but a lot of development still needs to be done and comprehensive sustainability assessments are required. Based on the collected material, a number of measures are being taken in Europe to promote the circular economy of plastics. However, differences can be observed between countries in terms of the detail of plans and speed of action. From the point of view of the waste hierarchy, several measures focus on either waste prevention or recycling. In addition to the strategies examined, it would have been useful to have more information on the implementation schedules and effects. Such follow-up data was rarely available. Steering towards the circular economy of plastics is continuous and fast-paced, which is why it is encouraged to look for updates to the information presented in this report. The Covid-19 pandemic may also have affected the implementation of the planned measures. Miten Eurooppa vastaa muovihaasteeseen? – Katsaus valittujen maiden strategioihin Globaali muovihaaste on herättänyt maat toimimaan muovien ympäristö- ja terveysvaikutusten vähentämiseksi. Toimenpiteitä tehdään sekä kansainvälisesti että kansallisesti, jotta saataisiin hillittyä muovien haitallisia vaikutuksia ja muodostettua kestävä muovien kiertotalous. EU ohjaa jäsenmaitaan muovien kestävään kiertotalouteen useilla sääntelykeinoilla, uusimpana tiettyjen muovituotteiden ympäristövaikutusten vähentämistä koskeva SUP-Direktiivi (EU) 2019/904, jota on toimeenpantu viime vuosina kansallisesti eri jäsenmaissa. Erilaisten toimenpiteiden muodostamat kokonaisuudet sekä niiden toteutusaikataulut vaihtelevat maittain ja sisältävät sekä vapaaehtoisia että lain velvoittamia toimia. Tämä raportti kokoaa ja esittelee valittujen Euroopan maiden suunnitelmia muovihaasteen ratkaisemiseksi. Mukana ovat pohjoismaat (Suomi, Ruotsi, Norja, Tanska ja Islanti), suuret maat (Ranska, Saksa ja Yhdistyneestä kuningaskunnasta etenkin Englanti ja Skotlanti) ja kiertotalouden edelläkävijämaa Alankomaat. Tietoa kerättiin näiden maiden muovistrategioista, muista hallinnollisista dokumenteista ja nettisivuilta vuoden 2020 lopussa ja 2021 alussa. Tiedonsaannin edistämiseksi syksyllä 2020 laadittiin EPA-verkoston IG-Plastics-työryhmälle aiheesta lyhyt kysely, johon pyydettiin päivityksiä helmikuussa 2022. Tietoa löytyi vaihtelevasti. Lisäksi saatavilla olevan tiedon hyödyntämistä rajoitti joidenkin maiden tapa tuottaa tietoa lähinnä omalla kielellään. Toimenpidekokonaisuuksista tunnistettiin sääntelytoimenpiteitä, markkinaperusteisia toimenpiteitä, tiedotustoimenpiteitä, rahoitustoimenpiteitä ja vapaaehtoisia sopimuksia. Näiden lisäksi muutosta kohti kestävää muovien kiertotaloutta tukevat tutkimus- ja kehitystoimenpiteet, jotka tuovat tietoa ja uudistavat muovien arvoketjun eri vaiheita. Yksi kehityskohde on perinteisen muovin korvaajat, esimerkiksi biopohjaiset ja/tai biohajoavat muovit. Biopohjaisissa muoveissa on paljon potentiaalia, mutta kehitystyö on vielä alussa ja materiaalit vaativat kattavia kestävyysarvioita. Aineiston perusteella Euroopassa on käynnissä ja suunnitteilla lukuisia toimenpiteitä muovien kiertotalouden edistämiseksi. Maiden välillä voidaan kuitenkin havaita eroja esimerkiksi suunnitelmallisuudessa ja reagointinopeudessa. Jätehierarkian näkökulmasta useat toimenpiteet keskittyvät joko jätteiden ehkäisyyn tai kierrätykseen. Tutkittujen suunnitelmien lisäksi olisi ollut hyödyllistä saada enemmän tietoa mainittujen toimenpiteiden toteutusaikatauluista ja vaikutuksista. Tällaista seurantatietoa oli harvoin saatavilla. Ohjaus kohti muovien kiertotaloutta on jatkuvaa ja nopeatempoista, minkä vuoksi raportissa esitettyjen tietojen päivityksiä suositellaan etsimään. Covid-19-pandemia on myös osaltaan voinut vaikuttaa suunniteltujen toimenpiteiden toteuttamiseen.
  • Alaranta, Joonas; Turunen, Topi (Oxford University Press, 2020)
    Journal of Environmental Law, Volume 33, Issue 1, March 2021, Pages 113–136
    This article discusses the regulation of ‘substances of concern’ in the circular economy (CE) in the European Union (EU). It analyses the tensions and obstacles that the present sectoral separation of waste, product and chemicals legislation sets for the development of the CE. We argue that in a longer term perspective the aim should be to erase the border between waste and chemicals regulation and create a single regime for the regulation of materials and their flow. However, the eventual aim of such non-toxic material circulation can be achieved only via precautious transitional measures that outweigh the costs and benefits of each material flow and set restrictions for the particular substances of concern. Regulatory actions addressing the risks posed by the substances of concern in the waste-based material flows are urgently needed. New measures are necessary to protect human health and the environment and to support the development of the markets for the secondary materials.
  • Salmenperä, Hanna; Kauppi, Sari; Dahlbo, Helena; Fjäder, Päivi (MDPI AG, 2022)
    Pharmaceutical packaging is a complex group of products, the main purpose of which is to protect the medicine and forward information. Pharmaceutical packaging waste is generated and accumulated along the various phases and practices of the value chain. In general, the amount of packaging has been growing during the increasing political pressure to reduce waste and to increase the circulation of materials. The goals and solutions are expected to be found in the circular economy; however, the literature on circular pharmaceutical packaging is lacking. This study explores the key factors when promoting the circularity of pharmaceutical packaging along its value chain. This was conducted by reviewing the legislation, elaborating the value chain and analysing the data from focus group discussions with stakeholders. The results show that various barriers, such as legislation, a lack of information or interaction between stakeholders, but also rigid practices, block product design for circularity. In the developing circularity of packaging, the causal links along the value chain must be understood. Chemical recycling technologies are expected to resolve the challenges of maintaining clean cycles. Further studies are needed to demonstrate the environmental benefits of increasing circularity along the value chain of pharmaceutical packaging.
  • Reinikainen, Tapio; Merenheimo, Tiia; Tenhunen, Jyrki; Savolahti, Hanna; Rauta, Okariina (Suomen ympäristökeskus, 2022)
    Suomen ympäristökeskuksen raportteja 6/2022
    Kunnat ovat keskeisessä asemassa oman alueensa toiminnan ohjaamisessa kohti kestävän kehityksen mukaisia tavoitteita. Indikaattoreita tarvitaan tavoitteiden saavuttamisen seurannassa. FISU (Finnish Sustainable Communities) -kunnat tavoitellevat kestävää kehitystä ja resurssiviisautta, joka on määritelty pyrkimyksenä hiilineutraalisuuteen, jätteettömyyteen ja globaalisti kestävään kulutukseen. Resurssiviisaustoimenpiteiden vaikuttavuuden mittaaminen kestävien kaupunkien johtamisen tukena (REMI) -hanke käynnistyi FISU-verkoston kuntien tarpeesta luoda resurssiviisautta edistävien toimien vaikuttavuutta mittaavia indikaattoreita, joilla tuetaan kaupunkien kestävyyttä edistävien tiekarttojen toimeenpanoa ja johtamista. Työn tavoitteena on myös palvella mahdollisimman hyvin kuntien laajempaa Agenda 2030 -työn seurantaa ja toteutusta. Työn lopputuloksen on tarkoitus hyödyttää kaikkia niitä suomalaisia kuntia, jotka haluavat edistää omalla alueellaan ilmastotavoitteita, kiertotaloutta ja kestävää kehitystä. Tässä raportissa esitetään 94 indikaattoria, jotka soveltuvat kestävän kehityksen mukaisten tavoitteiden mittaamiseen kunnissa. Indikaattorit on ryhmitelty seitsemään kaistaan, jotka ovat energia, liikkuminen ja yhdyskuntarakenne, kulutus ja materiaalit, vedenkäyttö ja luonnonvedet, luonnon monimuotoisuus, ruoantuotanto- ja kulutus sekä elinympäristö (viihtyvyys ja terveellisyys). Indikaattoreiden valintaprosessi toteutettiin kahdessa työpajassa, jossa oli kuntien edustajien lisäksi osallistujia ministeriöistä, Suomen ympäristökeskuksesta sekä Motivasta. Indikaattoreiden valinnassa käytettiin systeemianalyysiin perustuvia menetelmiä. Valintakriteereiksi nousivat indikaattorien edustavuus, mitattavuus ja tavoitteellisuus, relevanttius, vaikutusmahdollisuus ja vertailtavuus. Valitut indikaattorit ryhmiteltiin koko kuntaa koskeviin ja pelkästään kuntaorganisaatiota koskeviin indikaattoreihin. Tärkeimmiksi analysoidut indikaattorit nimettiin avainindikaattoreiksi ja vähemmän painoa saaneet täydentäviksi indikaattoreiksi. REMI-hankkeessa myös selvitettiin, miten FISU-kunnissa on tähän asti hyödynnetty ympäristöindikaattoritietoa. Työpajoissa käytyjen keskustelujen perusteella tärkeimmät selkeyttämistä kaipaavat asiat indikaattorien hyödyntämisessä olivat: miten indikaattoritieto koostetaan osaksi päätöksenteon asiakirjoja, miten seuranta vaikuttaa arjen johtamiseen, ja miten resurssiviisaustavoitteiden sitovuus ilmenee ja ohjaa toimintaa. Oleellinen osa indikaattorityötä on indikaattoreiden liittäminen osaksi kunnan päätöksentekoa. Yksi tärkeä johtopäätös on, että kunnan päätöksenteon vuosikalenteriin eri vaiheissa valmisteltaviin päätösasiakirjoihin tarvitaan erilaisia indikaattoreita ja kunnan eri päätöksentekoelimissä on erilaiset tarpeet indikaattoritiedolle. Kussakin kunnassa tulee harkita ja soveltaa kunnan omien tarpeiden mukaan indikaattorien jaottelu strategisen johtamisjärjestelmän eri tasoille sekä seurantavastuiden ja -syklin määrittely. REMI-hanke on ympäristöministeriön rahoittama ja osa ympäristöministeriön koordinoimaa Kestävä kaupunki -ohjelmaa. Hanke kytkeytyy erityisesti ohjelman kestävyyden johtamisen osioon, jossa kehitetään laaja-alaisten kestävyyshaasteiden parempaa haltuunottoa ja kestävän kehityksen johtamista kaupungeissa ja kunnissa. Loppuraportin lisäksi hankkeessa tuotettiin kunnille suunnattu tiivistelmäkalvosarja hankkeen tuloksista.