At the Liperi automated station, you only pay for what you leave behind

News 2021-07-21 at 11:57
The Liperi automated waste reception station. © Puhas Oy

In North Karelia, an automatic waste reception station for households and small-business waste has begun operations. The purpose of the automated station is to facilitate the handling of customer waste and to increase the number of services that meet the needs of consumers in a more diverse manner, without limiting the access time.

”When the Liperi station opened in January 2019, to my knowledge it was the first automated waste station in Finland, where the pricing of waste is based on its mass,” says Matti Mikkelä, Development Manager at Puhas Oy.

In practice, when driving to the station, the customer weighs the total mass of their car or car/trailer combination before leaving the waste and leaving the station again. This way, the customer pays only for the amount of waste they leave at the waste station. ”There has been much interest in self-service stations in the waste sector and we have had many visitors,” Mikkelä says.

”Obviously, it always takes time to adopt new practices, but the positive experiences of the station’s users are spreading to the residents of neighbouring areas constantly. That has steadily increased the number of visitors during the station's self-service hours.”

Waste quality has remained excellent

Only sorted waste may be brought to the waste station. In the beginning, concerns arose as to whether customers would act according to instructions and whether they would sort their waste without supervision during the self-service hours. However, the experiences have been very positive and there have been virtually no abuses at all. The quality of the waste has been even better than traditional stations.

During the winter there is an employee present at the station one day per week and in the summer time two days per week. It is estimated that about one third of the visitors use the services of the station during self-service hours. Because the waste station is small, it has only approximately 3,000 visitors per year.

Encouraged by the positive experience of the pilot, Puhas Oy is opening a second, larger automatic station at the Kontiosuo waste centre next year.

So, when do people visit waste stations the most? The visitor activity reflects an increase in people's leisure time. Busy times include holiday seasons and weekends, when people have time to renovate.

”The most popular time is Saturday morning, but customers also visit according to the weather, an there were very few customers when the weather is cold, for example. As the days get longer and the light increases, so does the number of customers,” says Mikkelä.

With COVID-19, people are spending more time at home, which is also reflected as an increase in the amount of waste as well as the number of visitors to waste stations.

© Puhas Oy

Digitalisation and increased service selection to meet customer needs

Consumer surveys demonstrate that one of the biggest factors contributing to waste sorting is the ease and effortlessness of sorting, a goal that Puhas aims to promote with the Liperi self-service waste station.

In addition to automatic waste stations, Puhas strives to introduce other digital applications to help customers. Examples include the Puhas application, providing up-to-date information and their electronic customer service. In addition to current news, the Puhas application provides the user with information on sorting instructions, rental trailers and skips. The user can also view and edit their own details, monitor and modify waste bin emptying intervals and report composting.

Puhas Oy

Puhas Oy is a municipal waste management service company that manages the waste management of approximately 112,000 residents of five different municipalities in North Karelia. Puhas was a partial implementer of the Circwaste project. The Puhas subproject focused on the development of sorting and recycling of construction and demolition waste.

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