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Where to see the circular economy in action

The participants at the World Circular Economy Forum 2017 will have an opportunity to see Finland’s tangible solutions for the circular economy.


David J. Cord



The future of the economy is circular. In a circular economy resources are kept in use for as long as possible while new ways are found to recover and refurbish them. On 5–7 June 2017 over 1,500 experts and decision makers will gather in Finlandia Hall in Helsinki, Finland to share experiences and ideas. In Finland you can also see circular economy solutions in practice, a few of which you can learn about below.

Sohjoa: self-driving buses

Small, self-driving electric buses aim to help solve urban mobility challenges. After being tested in three Finnish cities in 2016, they are back in 2017. Finnish regulations allow the testing of autonomous vehicles in urban environments, giving Finland unique piloting opportunities.

The Night of Circular Solutions: a new way of making science

One of the most important things about the circular economy is finding new processes to solve challenges. The [TUL1] Night of Circular Solutions is where students and researchers from diverse backgrounds develop concrete solutions to circular economy issues. Moreover, they will do it in 14 hours during the night of 6-7 June 2017.

Neste: a refinery of waste-based biofuel

Neste is the world’s leading producer of advanced biofuels and biochemicals from waste and residues. Their Kilpilahti refinery area near Porvoo is one of the most advanced in the world for renewable diesel.

Gold & Green: pulled oats

By combining the Nordic superfood oats with the vegetarian stable beans Gold & Green have created a tender, juicy food. They have developed a protein food which is nutritionally balanced and has a low environmental footprint. It is tasty as well.

Kera: a residential area in the circular economy

A 22 hectare former industrial park in Espoo is being transformed into a residential neighbourhood based on circular economy solutions. Measures include boosting resource efficiency, creating closed loop systems and enabling local residents.

Palpa: the national deposit and refund system for bottles

Finland uses a deposit-based return system for bottles, which encourages consumers to return them for recycling. The nation enjoys a return rate of 95% for beverage cans, and similar rates for plastic and glass bottles.

Loop: a restaurant saving food from waste

Wasting food is terrible from any standpoint, be it ethical, environmental or economic. Ravintola Loop does its part by picking up surplus food from supermarkets and planning the day’s menu based on available ingredients. The non-profit restaurant saves food which would otherwise have been waste.

Bryggeri: a brewery which uses biogas

Bryggeri is a Helsinki restaurant and brewery which partnered with Gasum to generate biogas as a by-product of its beer brewing. The waste from its beer production is now reused to power its brewery, kitchen cookers and patio heaters, a perfect example of the circular economy in action.

EkoRent: shared electric vehicles

The average Finnish car owner only drives 42 kilometres per day while the car is idle 97 per cent of the time. Sharing electric vehicles is a perfect solution. EkoRent uses a mobile app to discover, book and use shared electric vehicles.

Globe Hope: clothing from recycled materials

Globe Hope makes ecological and ethical clothes, bags and accessories using recycled and leftover materials. Old sails are turned into pouches. Military gas mask bags become backpacks. Perfectly good material gets another life instead of being sent to a landfill.

Destaclean: composite construction products from waste

Construction sites have a lot of leftover materials. Destaclean recycles this waste into new composite products such as wood stones for yard construction and landscaping. The composite is an entirely new product innovation.

ZenRobotics: industrial recycling robots

It is a major job to separate waste for recycling, so ZenRobotics created a robot to do it which greatly increases accuracy and never gets tired. Some of the main applications are increasing the efficiency of recycling construction and demolition waste.

Qvidja: a farm using microbe-based biogas and nutrient recycling

A farm in southwest Finland demonstrates a microbe-based bioreactor which uses microbes from swamps to produce biomethane. Not only is it highly efficient in production, it can even store renewable energy as biomethane. Storage is one of the Holy Grails of the renewable energy industry.


Did this list leave you wanting more? Check out the most interesting Finnish companies in the circular economy.

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