23.11.2020 16:18:07 //
Saara Pellikka and Satu Pasanen
Saara Pellikka

Vuosaari Harbour strives towards smaller environmental impacts through a joint plastic collection pilot project

How could plastic recycling in industrial areas be made more efficient? This is now being studied in a joint pilot of the Port of Helsinki, the City of Helsinki, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and their business partners in Vuosaari Harbour. The purpose behind this joint, more effective plastic recycling is to mitigate the environmental impacts of industrial operations and promote the sustainable use of materials. 

“When we interviewed the companies operating in the harbour area, we received messages about the need for recycling plastic and centralising waste management. The experimental, joint collection of plastic waste is a fairly new phenomena in industrial areas, so we decided to introduce a practical pilot,” says City of Helsinki project specialist Saara Pellikka, describing the experiment’s background.

Muovipilotin avajaisissa yritysten edustajat seuraavat kun uuden jätepuristimen toimintaa demostroidaan.
The plastic recycling pilot was free of charge for the companies in the harbour area, and six companies operating at Vuosaari Harbour became involved right from the beginning. The pilot’s opening ceremony was held on 16 November 2020.

There are varied sorting practices of the different waste types, such as plastic, in use at Vuosaari Harbour, as the companies have usually organised their waste management by themselves. Recycling is only possible if the plastic waste flows generated in the area are large enough and if the plastic is recyclable in quality. The test collection organised for 16 November–31 December 2020 will provide practical information about the quality, degree of cleanliness and amount of plastic waste generated in the area.

Towards more sustainable operations with the help of the harbour community

A man tips plastic waste into the waste compactor at Vuosaari Harbour. Mies kippaa muovijätettä jätepuristimeen Vuosaaren satamassa.
The new waste compactor has been integrated with a SMART Scale system that facilitates company-specific weighing and monitoring of waste.

This plastic recycling pilot is part of 6Aika’s HNRY Carbon-neutral and resource-wise industrial areas development project. 

The pilot is testing a new kind of plastic collection method, in which the companies deliver their plastic waste to the temporary joint collection point located in the harbour. The plastic waste will be collected into a Europress Group Oy SCALETIPPER X1 waste compactor with integrated SMART Scale system. The new technology allows for the company-specific weighing and monitoring of waste.

“It is great that the companies in the harbour area are the first to test this new waste compactor in practice. It is important to the Port of Helsinki that it facilitates and supports its customers’ and stakeholders’ journeys towards more carbon-neutral operations,” says Andreas Slotte, the head of sustainable development at the Port of Helsinki.

The Port of Helsinki’s goal is to become the forerunner of sustainable port operations and to make its own operations 100% carbon-neutral by 2035.  

A part of a more extensive concept work

Through the HNRY project, VTT will develop and test operational models promoting carbon-neutral operations created together with the project companies. VTT analyses the package and logistics waste flows and the recycling of plastic waste, assesses the emissions in business areas and develops business opportunities for companies.

“The Vuosaari plastic pilot project will give us research-based, valuable information for the plastic recycling concept that will be developed through the HNRY project. Due to its age and business operations, the port is a unique pilot area that will give us results that can also be utilised elsewhere,” says VTT researcher Satu Pasanen.