Satakunta, North and South Karelia, Southwest and Central region, Finland

SDG 7: Affordable and clean energySDG 9: Industry innovation and infrastructureSDG 17: Partnerships for the goals
Circwaste is a cooperation and capacity-building project funded in large parts by the EU LIFE programme and is coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute. Geographically focused on the Southwest Finland, Satakunta, Central Finland, North Karelia region and South Karelia region, the project gathers a selection of 20 cross-sectorial stakeholders and 10 funders to jointly promote and develop efficient use of material flows, waste prevention and new waste and resource management concepts. All actions of the project contribute to implementing the national waste management plan and directing Finland towards a circular economy. The project stands out as an example of a regional catalyst and support platform for local projects focused on improving resource efficiency through circular economy solutions.

The Circwaste project responds to the challenge of regionalising national sustainability strategies by building multi-stakeholder partnerships with the capacity to implement national regulations on a regional and local level. In addition, the underlying challenge that the Circwaste project focuses on is developing solutions, best practices and recommendations on how partnerships of regional stakeholders can develop more resource efficient systems, not only to meet the targets of the national waste management plan, but also to support sustainable development, locally, regionally and nationally.

Good practices and solutions

Acting as a circular economy platform for knowledge-exchange and capacity-building, the Circwaste project has proven a successful catalyst supporting the regional implementation of the Finnish national waste management plan. Key to the success of the project has been its regional focus.In each region, the relevant regional stakeholders have formed cooperation groups that work to implement the national plan at a regional level. The groups create roadmaps that set goals and activities necessary to decrease the amounts of waste, improve material efficiency, utilize industrial by-products, etc.42 In addition, Circwaste is also carrying out concrete pilot projects in key areas to develop the waste management system and to promote circular economy, as well as establishing an expert network on circular economy to provide expert services and spread information on successful solutions to relevant stakeholders outside of the project. A number of projects and initiatives, linked to Circwaste, has already been successfully implemented and some are highlighted as best practices in this report. These include:

• Production of biogas and fertilizer from biowaste streams and wastewater sludge at the LABIO Ltd biogas and composting plant (Best Practice 14)

• Waste sorting system enabling more effective material recycling at the Päijät-Häme Waste Management company.

Outcomes & Opportunities

The Circwaste project emphasizes the need to develop regional roadmaps that set out the needs, opportunities and ways forward for the implementation of the national waste management plan. Creating regionalised and context-specific roadmaps is an important step to identify relevant stakeholders, build essential partnerships and find innovative solutions supporting the development of more circular and resource efficiency systems. With this method of work, the Circwaste project estimates that they will have: 1) decreased the amounts of municipal solid waste; 2) increased the recycling of construction and demolition waste; 3) improved material efficiency and waste prevention in production, industry and trade; 4) increased the use of mineral waste and industrial by-products.

Related SDG targets
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Project: Circular Baltic 2030