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Managing the safety risks caused by the reuse of materials

Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) and Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) increase communication and understanding of the safety risks related to the reuse of materials.

Photo: Topias Dean/Sitra

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Challenge

There are new safety issues concerning recycled materials and products made from them, the collection and storage of recycled materials and new production processes. People do not necessarily know how to take advantage of the competence and knowledge needed to anticipate the safety risks when planning circular economy business.

In the circular economy, safety and the management of chemicals is regulated in many ways, including through legislation applicable to products, chemicals, the environment, industrial safety and waste management. Many of the regulations predate circular economy thinking, which creates challenges for how to apply and develop the legislation. It is challenging for those involved in the circular economy to understand the interfaces between various regulatory frameworks.

Solution

It is important to increase the awareness of and competence in the identifying the inherent safety risks of the circular economy and anticipation of such risks among designers, plant suppliers, user organisations, funding providers and safety authorities, since all parties pay dearly if any problems materialise. The situation can be significantly improved by the provision of information and the use of examined data produced by the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (TUKES) and research in general.

Good chemicals management enables the growth of the circular economy, since high-quality material cycles are cost efficient and innocuous. Communication and education about the management and safety of harmful substances must be provided, particularly to designers and SME-sector companies from the perspectives of chemicals information, chemicals legislation and occupational health and safety.

For example, with its information project Safety Risks of the Circular Economy II TUKES aims to increase the awareness of designers, circular economy plants and operators of the safety risks of purchasing products and to enhance their capacity to anticipate risks. The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) also produces research information on the issue.

Publication

The critical move - Finland's road map to a circular economy 2.0

The circular economy roadmap 2.0 plots Finland’s route to the circular economy by 2025. Find your role, form your team and make your move towards a wiser economy.

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