Sunday, 25 August 2019 02:05 GMT

Finland seeks to become circular economy leader

(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Mohammed Osman | The Peninsula

Helsinki:The Finnish Government has prioritised investments promoting the circular economy among its new spearhead projects at the time the European Union is preparing to adopt an ambitious Circular Economy Strategy.

The concept of circular economy is based on the idea that all materials are fully utilised and recycled minimising waste where Finland has accumulated experience thought out the past decades on how innovative technologies used in this aspect. Considerable number of Finnish business sectors have adopted the circular approaches in their businesses.

Finland has set a goal to make the country a global circular economy leader by 2025, by adopting the world's first road map to a circular economy in 2016. The road map outlines the steps to sustainable success creating sustainable well-being and a successful carbon-neutral circular economy over the next years. The country being the greenest in the world has a real opportunity to become a front runner in developing green solutions.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland organised last week a media tour for 18 journalists from 16 countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, between October 29 to November 1, to introduce various perspectives and simulations developed so far. The Peninsula was the only newspaper from the Arab region that took part in the tour.

The first visit was at the Ammassuo Waste Treatment Center in Espoo which has more than 700 employees, most of them work at the open section. The waste treated in the plant comes from the capital Helsinki district, particularly from households, industrial areas, business centers.

'Wastes are sorted into mixed waste, paper, bio-waste, carton, glass, metal, hazardous-waste and electrical equipment, said Tiil Korhonen, Acting Operating Manager at the (Waste Handling section).

Each family pays 200 Euros per month against a set of service which includes collection of waste, water, electricity and heats. These households are residents of the capital.

Private companies also handle the construction waste. There are four private companies handling the waste dealing with transporting and sorting process, the Acting Operating Manager added.

'Only one percent of the waste goes to the landfill site, the remaining is used for producing biogas used by the households, or raw materials, while the mixed waste goes to another integrating plant called Vantaa, Tiil Korhonen pointed out.

Tiil Korhonen, Acting Operating Manager at the (Waste Handling section).

Nowadays, families are committed to keep the waste separated in special containers for each type of garbage.

'We started to receive sorted wastes since 2014, where the collection began at the Helsinki metropolitan area in 1993. Forty percent of the mixed wastes are bio-waste, and everything is moving smoothly thanks to the increasing awareness of the society, she told The Peninsula.

We provide information about recycling and waste management at KG and schools, commercial centers, she added.

The Ammassuo Waste Treatment Center includes two landfill sites. The old one was opened in 1987 and used until 2007 and currently holds 11 million tonnes of wastes engineer, Roni Jarvensiva told the journalists during the site tour. There is also area for treatment of the contaminated water which goes to the landfill area.

The new landfill was opened in 2007 and 54 hectares have been allocated for this site where only 12 hectares are in use currently, Roni explained.

'We also produce bio-fuel from the tree branches which are crushed and chopped. We get them from gardens, farms and households residing in the capital city, Roni added.

During the tour, Roni explained that there are six sort stations and 60 containers for hazardous wastes such as medical products to pharmacies.

As well the waste management plant in Espoo has 130 recycling points for papers, glass, carton, plastic, metal, packages and textiles in cooperation between Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) and Rinki Ltd.

The municipal body (HSY) functions as the municipal authority for waste management by issuing waste management regulations and decides on exceptions to these provisions. Also, the body decides on the waste transport system and approves the waste tariff, said Tiila Korhonen.

The annual capacity is 80,000 tonnes of bio-waste and wastewater sludge which results in 30,000 cubic metres of ripe compost. In 2017 total of 457,000 tonnes of waste was received at the waste treatment center.

There are studies going on to find out how some types of mineral waste can be used, said Roni and that the wastes which goes to the landfill are also separated by concrete wall in order to protect environment.

Gas power plant is receiving around 2000 cubic metres of landfill gas per hour. The gas is used inside the plant by four engines and another 16 engines which produce 60 megawatt per year.

The reception hall of Vantaa Sortti station receives 140 wastes collection vehicles every day.

The reception hall is maintained under negative pressure, which prevents odours from escaping to the environment. Wastes are stored in 38 meter deep underground bunker, where waste cranes mix the waste into a mass of uniform quality, said Kalle Patromeri, Engineer at Vantaa.

Automatic waste cranes feed waste into the feed hoppers.

Waste collection vehicles bring waste into the plant on weekdays for waste incineration, which also happens during the weekends, Patromeri added.

Patromeri pointed out that waste burns on the gate at over 1000°C which takes about two hours for waste load to go through the gate. The remaining slag and ash are stored in the slag bunker.

The energy generated in the waste incineration heats up to the water, which circulate in the pipes around the waste to-energy boiler creating a steam of 400°C.

There are gas turbine generates electricity to the national grid using natural gas as its fuel. Heat recovery boiler: the steam from waste-to-energy boiler is conducted to the heat recovery boiler where it is heated to a temperature of 535°C with the exhaust gas of the gas turbine.

This produces more steam and district heat. One-third of this steam energy turns into electricity and two-third into district heat.


Finland seeks to become circular economy leader


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