Achieving 90% waste recycling in Lahti region, Finland

By Bhavani Prakash

It was certainly the first time I had come across the name, Lahti, at the CleanTech Marketplace Forum 2013 held in Singapore recently.  The region in Finland, as a successful waste management story with the right mixture of government policy, private and public participation, hails as a good example of what can be done in other parts of the world.

Lahti is situated about 100 kilometres  north-east of the capital Helsinki. The region’s population of a little over 200,000 nestles in an area of about 5100 sq km.

The Project Coordinator of Lahti Region Development LADEC, Finland,  Emmi Kaipio shared their interesting waste management story, the key features of which are as follows:

* The utilisation of municipal solid waste is over 90% as compared to a mere 11% in 1994. Lahti is well ahead of Finland’s national objective to recover 80% in 2016. Lahti’s target is also to completely eliminate landfill waste by 2050.

* Innovative technologies are deployed throughout the value chain comprising of 300 companies in the ecosystem, involving sorting, collection, logistics and optimisation, reuse, recycling and final disposal.

* A new innovative gasification and boiler plant, Lahtia Energia, for municipal waste (CHP) has been set up in 2012, costing Euro 160 million, which processes an annual waste of about 250000 tons. The plant produces 50MW of electricity and 100 MW of heat. It creates 410000 tons less annually of C02 emissions compared to coal burning.

-*Strong public-private partnerships have been created with the municipal waste management company with 13 surrounding municipalities.  All this has been backed up by 20 years of public education and awareness raising around recycling and the importance of source separation, starting from kindergardens and schools.


The LADEC case study is also summarised in this slideshare presentation.

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