Speeding up circular economy – Circwaste municipalities and regions actively engaged in programme work

News 2020-10-06 at 8:04
Tuuli Myllymaa. © Kai Widell

Now that the summer holidays are over, autumn brings people back to work with new experiences of both Finnish cities and the nature. Hikers have enjoyed the plentiful blueberries and sunny weather in nature parks and the visitors of museums, hotels, restaurants and cafes have had more room and received grateful service. The many summer activities helped us gather energy to protect our health during autumn and the busy work period, in line with the official recommendations.

And the energy is needed for this eventful end of the year!

One of the highlights of circular economy will be the strategic programme for its promotion. It is being finalised during the autumn and prepared under the leadership of the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment in cooperation with major industries, municipalities, and other stakeholders. The programme is needed to bring about systemic change in the circular economy and it aims to define the necessary actions, allocate resources and set targets and indicators.

As a representative of the Circwaste project in the preparation of the programme in the Municipalities and Regions thematic group, it has been gratifying to see the genuine joy and desire of municipalities to promote circular economy. With will and knowledge, we also produce results. With a strong ambition in all the themes, the programme has all the prerequisites to be a real success story. The work of the Municipalities and Regions theme group is introduced in the webinar “Municipalities and Regions as a motor of the circular economy” at the municipal fair Kuntamarkkinat on 9 September. The event is co-organised by the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra and the Finnish Environment Institute's Circwaste project. Welcome!

The national waste plan, more commonly known as VALTSU, which is coordinated by the Ministry of the Environment, will also be updated during the autumn. The Circwaste project also intends to support the process. Since the beginning of 2017, the regional cooperation groups of our project in Southwest Finland, Central Finland, North Karelia and South Karelia have acted as activators of the circular economy. The Regional Council of Southwest Finland, the Regional Council of Central Finland, the Regional Council of North Karelia and the City of Lappeenranta have worked to standardise circular economy and coordinated ambitious circular economy roadmaps for their regions. In the roadmaps, the regions have chosen their main objectives, and actions to achieve them.

Now, with the support of coordinators, the regional cooperation groups are participating in updating of the national waste plan. What a great opportunity to make an impact and advance the goals of the circular economy. Experts participating in regional cooperation groups have a great opportunity to use their expertise available in national strategy work.

When we work together to find a balance between the different dimensions of sustainability covered by the circular economy, we have the opportunity to reduce resource use and ultimately decouple economic growth from resource use and other pressures. We can also reduce climate impact and other pressures on the environment, as well as preserve nature and increase well-being.

Strength through unity!

Tuuli Myllymaa, Group Leader, Project Manager of the Circwaste project

Finnish Environment Institute SYKE

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