Finnish grocery store's quick rewards from a plastic compressor investment
- City market identifies a high percentage of unrecycled plastic
- The results encouraged the store to invest in a compactor for plastic waste
- In four months, several tonnes of plastic bales were generated, boosting recycling significantly
K-Citymarket Easton is a large grocery store in eastern Helsinki and belongs to the Finnish retailing conglomerate Kesko Oyj. The company is keen to promote sustainable development and encourages other sellers to follow its leads on plastic recycling.
In recent years, Finland has taken positive steps to boost plastic recycling. Yet vast amounts of recyclable plastics are still burned as 'energy waste' and many such waste treatment centres are working overtime to keep up. At the beginning of 2018, K-Citymarket Easton analysed the content of their energy waste compactor. Most of the content could still be classed as energy waste material, but there was also a significant amount of recyclable plastic, such as membrane plastic used for packaging and pallets.
The company decided to buy a dedicated plastic waste compactor, which turned out to be a successful investment. All members of staff were trained to use the new compactor, which was one of the reasons they managed to grow their recycling rate. Within four months they had compacted tonnes of recycled plastic.
Disposing of unsorted energy waste is expensive. The plastic compactor brought the cost of waste disposal down, and a market was found for the recycled plastic as well. Within a short time, the plastic compactor paid for itself.
The experiment was also a useful learning experience for the entire company, and Kesko plans to encourage its other stores to start plastic recycling too. The plastic compactor is not the company's only investment in recycling. It also has compactors for carton and containers for glass and metal. The market has also a 'Rinki' recycling point for customers, and arrangements to reduce food waste are also underway.
- In four months the recycling rate of the market grew from 74 % to 81 % and the amount of the residual waste was reduced by 26.7 %
- As waste costs are reduced, the payback time for the plastic compactor is very short
Motiva Oy. (2019). K-Citymarket Easton – kierrätysmuovipaalain maksoi itsensä nopeasti. https://www.motiva.fi/ratkaisut/materiaalitehokkuus/materiaalitehokkuuden_sitoumukset/elintarvikealan_sitoumus/esimerkkeja_yritysten_toimenpiteista/k-citymaket_easton_-_kierratysmuovipaalain_maksoi_itsensa_nopeasti
Liljeroos, A. (2019) Shopping center Easton blog: Kauppiaiden kanssa kierroksella muoviton maaliskuu mielessä. https://eastonhelsinki.fi/kauppiaiden-kanssa-kierroksella-muoviton-maaliskuu-mielessa/