New ideas from circular economy audits for Riihimäki's resource wisdom work

News 2020-06-15 at 12:01
Solar panels on the roof of Piikinmäki kindergarten © City of Riihimäki

In the city of Riihimäki, an extensive circular economy audit of the entire municipal group was carried out in autumn 2019.

Riihimäki is a pioneer in Fisu and Circwaste projects and the circular economy is a visible and significant part of the city strategy. Despite this, circular economy in Riihimäki has sometimes been perceived as just recycling and waste treatment.

“A lot of circular economy actions are being done in Riihimäki, but no information was gathered about it. In addition to expanding the circular economy vision, the aim of the audit was to gather information on the circular economy work carried out by different administrations and units and to come up with new measures together,” says Jenni Takala, Environmental Expert at the City of Riihimäki. "The information gathered can also be used in the municipality's own communications in the future."

Exchange of information across industry boundaries

The circular economy audits were carried out in workshops to which representatives of the management team and all areas of the municipality were invited.

Takala sees the participation of managers in the workshops as very important for the coordination and accountability of future work. “The workshops promoted wide-ranging and cross-administrative interaction between the different industries of the municipality. Different sectors were able to comment on each other’s sections and bring a varying perspective on the implementation of the measures. Ideas were also drawn from other municipalities,” says Takala.

So, what kind of ideas came up in the workshops? One concrete idea for developing the municipality's own activities is related to the travelling and commuting of employees. Each sector of the municipality has its own means of mobility, which they use for their own activities. One idea that came up in the workshops was that all municipalities' means of transport should be shared by the city and available for booking by everyone through an electronic system.

A comprehensive report was prepared on the results of the circular economy audit containing a wide range of proposals for measures to promote Riihimäki's circular economy. The report was submitted to the city management team for approval in March.

Municipal circular economy and resource efficiency tool

The Circwaste project produces a tool for municipalities that aims to make it easier for municipalities to promote circular economy between different sectors on a large scale.

“The service package, which will be in pilot use and in continuous development until 2023, will help municipalities to understand the possibilities of streamlining and rationalising their own operations from the perspective of circular economy,” says Hannele Tiitto from the Council of Tampere Region.

The tool will be tested initially in Circwaste areas and municipalities, and its development will utilise, among other things, the experience gained in Riihimäki's circular economy audits. The end result of the work will be a service that will be open online and available to all municipalities.