Less paper waste ends up in recycling
Burning waste for energy is on the increase in Finland, but a lot of rubbish still ends up on landfill tips
Burning rubbish for energy has quickly become more and more common. Last year in excess of 500,000 tonnes of community waste was burned in the furnaces of Finland’s power stations. This marked a 20% increase from the year before.
The citizens have changed their paper recycling habits in particular: the amount of paper that was recycled went down by a fifth last year.
ResearcherSimo Vahvelainen from Statistics Finland reckons that more paper has been burned for energy.
Just over a fifth of all the municipal waste is burned at the country power plants. The amount has grown by a factor of 2.5 in the past four years.
According to Statistics Finland, last year around 2.5 million tonnes of community waste was collected in Finland. The amount has been on a slight downward trend.
About 1.1 million tonnes of rubbish, in other words nearly half of all the municipal waste, was wheeled to the country’s landfill tips.
According to Vahvelainen, compared with other EU countries, in Finland an excessive amount of waste still ends up on tips.
When it comes to burning waste for energy, Finland is still below the European average.
In Finland, recycling has traditionally been considered more important than using rubbish for energy-production purposes.
With the rising energy costs, however, in recent years waste has increased its attractiveness as fuel.
Environmentalists, in particular, have objected to the burning of waste, as it is believed to reduce recycling.
According to statistics, however, this is a false notion.
“The countries that burn a lot of their waste also recycle more than others”, Vahvelainen says.
For example in Denmark half and in Switzerland almost half of the waste goes to energy production.
Of the community waste, around 60 per cent is produced by private households.
The rest comes from shops and other businesses in the service industry.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Study finds wood energy to be more harmful than originally thought (2.2.2011)
Utter garbage - an average Helsinki resident produces 340 kilos of household waste each year (1.6.2010)
Working group wants biodegradable waste out of landfills (17.2.2010)
Helsinki decision-makers debate energy issues at Sanoma House (22.1.2008)
Helsinki plans to triple use of renewable energy (14.1.2008)
Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) - Waste Management