Finland

finland

The eco-innovation landscape in Finland has been remaining quite stable over the last years. Importantly, Finland is still ranked as one of the most innovative countries in the world. Finnish eco-innovation continues to benefit from a well-developed innovation system, open economy, and close collaboration between industry, academia and national research organisations.

Energy efficiency and circular economy have been established as key high-level policy priorities, and related national and regional initiatives are manifold. Both start-ups and established companies generate technologies, products and services in several sectors relevant to eco-innovations and the circular economy. Applications range from a mobile app designed to rescue leftover food from restaurants to pioneering energy management solutions and transformative products based on material recycling.

One of the most important policy developments is the inclusion of circular economy as a priority in the Strategic Programme of the Finnish Government from 2016 onwards. The Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy also published the Strategy to Promote Cleantech Business in Finland in 2014, which continues to guide policymaking and business initiatives. Other important strategies and programmes relevant to eco-innovations and the circular economy include the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy (2014), the Finnish Material Efficiency Programme (2014), and the new Circular Economy focus area (2016) in Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund.

The main challenges for eco-innovation in the country are associated with the weak national economy and decreasing public and private research and development  (R&D) spending .

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Finland

Finland

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Material flow eco-innovation – Sustainable solution to reuse batteries and accumulators

Labels: Finland

AkkuserWithin the past few years, AkkuSer Ltd. has created a profitable business from recycling batteries and accumulators used in wireless products, such as digital cameras, video cameras, mobile phones and computers. AkkuSer’s recycling method - Dry Technology - is unique in the world. The technology enables the sorting of recycling material into valuable metals suitable for raw material for the electronics industry, and their restoration for reuse. The method allows various new products to be made with the materials used in batteries without a need for chemicals, heat or incineration. (Cleantech Finland 2010; AkkuSer 2010.)

AkkuSer’s recycling plant is located in Nivala, Finland, and it is ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 certified. AkkuSer processes most of the rechargeable batteries and battery waste generated in Finland and Estonia, and half of the waste generated in Norway and Sweden. According to Jarmo Pudas, the Managing Director of AkkuSer, the initial driving force of their product development was the EU recycling directive, which came into effect in Finland in 2008. This directive obligated manufacturers to recycle all their batteries and accumulators, regardless of their shape, size, composition, or intended use. (Cleantech Finland 2010; AkkuSer 2010.)

Determinants

Barriers:

  • Consumer-orientated business; dependency on people’s will to recycle
  • Lack of technology to e.g. recycle disposable alkaline batteries

Drivers:

  • Increasing demand of wireless devices and rechargeable batteries
  • The EU recycling directive

Sustainability effects

The Ministry of the Environment has estimated that 200,000 tons of batteries and accumulators enter the EU markets each year. Some of these batteries and accumulators contain significant quantities of mercury, cadmium, and lead. They also contain materials like zinc, copper, manganese, lithium and nickel. (AkkuSer 2010.)

AkkuSer Ltd. has a sufficient capacity to process and recycle all the batteries and accumulators collected in Finland. They process and restore them for reuse without loading the environment. Over 90% of the recycling material can be reused. No environmentally harmful carbon dioxide emissions or waste are generated during the recycling process. (AkkuSer 2010.)

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Further Information

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Eco Innovation in Practice in Finland

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