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Tips from a recycling enthusiast: ”Make sorting waste easy for yourself – it’ll make you feel good!”

Created

7.2.2018

Author

Mari Suonto

Photos

Lauri Hannus

Tiina Heino lives at SATO’s Heinjoenpolku 2. Recycling has become a handy routine that also makes her feel good.
SATO resident Tiina Heino loves to recycle

In the sorting cabinet in Tiina Heino’s kitchen, everything has its place. On the top shelf, the two empty sweets boxes contain metal waste, such as empty food tins and foil dishes. Next to these is a wastepaper bin. The plastic buckets on the bottom shelf are for biowaste, cardboard packaging and mixed waste. Standing next to them is an eco-friendly bag for recyclable plastic.

“The local supermarket has a collection point for plastic,” Heino explains. “If you pack the plastic tightly, with similar packaging on top of each other, you only need to empty the bag every two weeks.”

Did you know?

  • Finland produces 2.4–2.8 million tonnes of municipal waste per year – around 500 kilos per capita.
  •  Of this waste, around 40% was recycled and reused, 49% was used to produce energy and 11% ended up in landfill sites in 2015. Ten years ago, nearly 60% of waste ended up in landfill sites.
  • However, recycling has not increased as much as burning waste to produce energy. Finland is not likely to achieve its national recycling target without additional measures.

Because of the recycling, the Heino household only needs a small bread bag for mixed waste. According to Heino, recycling does not require a great deal of time. You only need to organise things a little at the beginning, and that’s it.

”When everything has its place in the same cabinet, you don’t really need to put that much thought into recycling. Even my 11-year-old and 14-year-old children know how to recycle.”

Let’s work together to save the world from waste

For Heino, sorting waste is one way to make consumption less burdening for the planet.

“Without sorting, the world will drown in waste. For example, in our daily lives we produce a huge amount of plastic waste. I even pick up litter on the street when I’m walking the dog. My children are sometimes embarrassed by that, but it’s important for me to know that I’ve done my bit for the environment,” says Heino.

Sorting waste only requires little effort and brings good vibes to the daily life.

“You only need to fold the cardboard and pack the metal and plastic tightly, and that’s about it. Recycling makes me feel good!

SATO makes recycling easier

To make recycling as easy as possible, SATO is continuously improving the functionality of kitchens and waste collection points in its buildings.

“In 2017, to make the sorting of waste easier, we renovated waste collection points in cooperation with residents, maintenance partners and waste management companies. We will continue to invest in recycling and sorting in 2018”, says Laura Nurmi, Project Specialist, Business Development at Sato. She specialises in sustainability aspects.

”Among other things, we’re making the signage easier to understand for people with different backgrounds.”

In addition, feedback and suggestions have been collected from residents to improve waste management. Surveys have been carried out through the Pulssi resident panel, which has more than 200 members. Even small details, such as the order of waste bins, affect the functionality of waste collection points. In one of SATO’s buildings, steps were added to the waste collection point for children to reach the high containers.

In addition to continuous development, SATO and its partners are creating new ways to make sorting easy at home. For example, SATO is carrying out a cooperation project with the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY). The project seeks to increase the sorting of biowaste and reduce food waste in rental homes.

“In the Biorent project, we are boldly testing new solutions. For example, during the renovation of our building at Raudikkokuja 5 in Vantaa, we are equipping all kitchens with colour-coded waste bins that match those in the waste collection point.”

According to Nurmi, it is essential that the residents realise the importance of recycling.

“Increasing awareness is extremely important. Recycling and sorting are not rocket science. You just need to inspire people do them.”

Tiina Heino’s tips for recycling:
  1. Make recycling easy

    Set up a smart sorting point in a kitchen cabinet. It’s only a small investment in terms of both money and time.

    “When each type of waste has its place in the same cabinet, sorting is quick and effortless. My sorting cabinet was a very small investment: the bins are either old sweet boxes or eco-friendly shopping bags. Some of them I bought at a recycling centre for a euro,” says Heino.
     
  2. Take the rubbish out frequently

    You can include taking out the rubbish in your morning routine. Your sorting cabinet stays clean and easy to use when you take the rubbish out frequently enough.

    “To prevent odours, I take my biowaste out practically every day. The bin for plastic waste takes several weeks to fill up”, Heino explains.
     
  3. Make conscious purchases

    According to Heino, the best way to reduce waste is to think carefully about what you buy.

    “In the shop, think whether you really all the things you were going to buy”, says Heino. “I recently joined a social media group for tips to reduce waste and increase reuse.”