Kiilto develops plastics recycling alongside customers
Kiilto has begun an extensive pilot project to reduce the plastic waste created by companies.
Finland recycles plastic consumer packaging, but hardly any packaging discarded by companies.
Kiilto aims to promote the recycling of plastic packaging used for goods. It has begun a joint project with its customers to gather experiences of recycling and to develop suitable operating models.
"We want to promote the circular economy and be kind to the environment. It makes more sense to keep good materials in circulation than burn them and thereby increase carbon dioxide emissions," says Kiilto's Product Development Manager, Heidi Kähkönen.
"The enthusiasm with which our customers – pioneering businesses in their own fields – have embraced this project shows that they, too, consider it important. They can pursue their own environmental targets at the same time by reducing their waste volumes."
Organised by Kiilto, the project also involves Kaarea, SOL, Viking Line, Naantali Spa, Lassila & Tikanoja, Raisio Regional Education and Training Consortium (Raseko) and a major player in the healthcare sector.
Last summer, Kiilto carried out a pilot project with Moominworld, in which plastic packaging used on the island was recycled.
Lassila & Tikanoja handles practical logistics
Lassila & Tikanoja is in charge of the practical logistics side of the project, providing companies with and emptying collection bins.
Lassila & Tikanoja's Business Manager, Sanna Peltola, says that recycled plastic is taken to the company's plastic processing plant in Merikarvia.
"At the plant, the quality of the plastic is checked. It is then crushed, washed and dried. After that, it is ground up finely, creating a raw material for the plastic industry."
Peltola says that the recycling of plastic used by companies has been challenging, due to the lack of facilities for processing plastic in Finland.
"A new washing unit has been completed at the Merikarvia plant, enabling the recycling of plastic waste from companies."
Recycling is also made more challenging by the fact that many types of plastic have to be recycled separately. Kiilto's pilot project involves the recycling of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) packaging.
"Recycled plastic is primarily used to make products of the type in which the plastic was originally an ingredient, such as plastic bottles."
Kiilto advises and trains
During the project, Kiilto is advising and training the staff of the participating companies in the collection and recycling of packaging.
"Participation in the project is very easy for companies and causes hardly any extra work. Basically, all employees have to do is to rinse the used packaging and place it in a recycling bin," says Kähkönen.
The pilot project started in October and will last six months, after which the results will be collected and a decision made on its continuation.
Working on behalf of the future
Kähkönen hopes that more efficient recycling will also improve the image of plastic, which has taken some knocks recently.
"However, plastic has many properties that make it an unrivalled packaging material. If packaging does not protect a product properly and the product goes off or is wasted, this has a much greater environmental impact than the packaging itself."
"The key issue is that plastic packaging is recycled – and that the plastic does not end up in the natural environment."
Peltola is confident that plastic recycling by companies will be much more advanced in a few years' time. EU legislation also requires that recycling become more efficient. By 2025, 50 per cent of all plastic used for packaging must be recycled.
"Pilot projects like this are very important. They will help us to form a picture of what works and what doesn't, and what we should focus on," she says.
Interested? For more information about the recycling project and its suitability for your company's needs, please get in touch with your Kiilto contact person, or contact us using the contact form.
Would you like to hear more about Kiilto's environmental projects? Order our newsletter on the environment here (currently only in Finnish).
The photo: by L&T