Domestic waste causes major greenhouse gas emissions
Households account only for five per cent of all garbage generated in the Finnish capital region.
Nevertheless, the waste collected from the local households causes more than half of all greenhouse gas emissions coming from garbage.
The large amount is attributable to the fact that household waste contains a lot of mixed waste, which produces methane through bacterial decomposition.
The Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) has studied the amount of garbage and the subsequent emissions. The figures also include neighbouring Kirkkonummi to the west.
The amount of greenhouse gas emissions has declined slightly. In 2009, the amount of emissions was 390,000 tons, but in 2010 only 360,000 tons.
The decline can be explained for example by a decrease in the amount of household waste as well as by improvements made at dumps.
For example the old Ämmässuo landfill site in Espoo has been closed down, and the collection of gas emitted from the landfill has been stepped up.
Previously the gas was fed to the Fortum power plant. Today the landfill gas is used by the Ämmässuo bioenergy plant, which produces electricity all year round.
The amount of mixed waste ending up in landfills will decline further when a new waste-fired power plant, which will be built at Långmossebergen in Vantaa, is opened in 2014.
As soon as the new plant starts burning mixed waste, households will no longer have to sort energy waste from other waste.
Up to 80 per cent of all waste in the capital region consists of land masses generated from earthmoving and dredging, coming mostly from major construction sites.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Finnish greenhouse gas emissions at nearly pre-recession levels (14.12.2011)
Utter garbage - an average Helsinki resident produces 340 kilos of household waste each year (1.6.2010)
Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY)
HSY: Waste-Fired Power Plant Project - From Mixed Waste to Energy