Plastic Pat Wanted – recycling plastics in Lappeenranta

News 2019-07-15 at 12:29
Muoviroska uutinen

The Lappeenranta Region’s Environmental Office, with its partners, wanted to increase the awareness of the circular economy and the negative impacts of littering, and to prevent the access of microplastics in the environment. The idea resulted in the story of Plastic Pat, and a challenge campaign for preventing littering in the spirit of circular economy: Trash in nature, circular economy material when picked up: Plastic Pat Wanted.

‘Plastic Pat is lost, thrown away to nature after use. The terrible nature is threatening to hide Pat away, and the dangerous Wanda Waterdroplet is just about to drown him. Save Plastic Pat and help him find his kind! This is what circular economy is all about. Saving trash from the mercy of nature and giving them a new life as new products. Nature needs no trash!’ says Environmental Inspector Salme Muurikka from the City of Lappeenranta about the story of the campaign.

‘In order to better utilise the recycling potential of plastics, consumers must recycle them’, Muurikka says.

Learn to recycle by taking care of your own environment

The campaign challenged schools, businesses, residents, and communities in and around Lappeenranta to pick up trash from nature. Information was also spread about how trash can become circular economy products if in the right place. Plastic can be reformed, glass made into new bottles, paper and cardboard into recycled paper and cardboard, metal into a new can, aluminium into a Buster boat, and other kinds of trash can be used for energy.

Roskariksa_Susanna Vainikka 285
© Susanna Vainikka

Participants in the campaign were instructed to collect the trash into two bags: plastics into an orange bag, and other trash into a white one. This way, the share of plastic in all of the trash in the environment around Lappeenranta could be roughly determined.

‘Even though we have a good waste management system in Finland, trash still ends up in the environment. During a three-hour collection day, for example, we picked up twelve cubic metres of trash, half of which was plastic. When the campaign was launched, we hoped to make consumers aware of the significance of sustainable consumption by making the amount and harms of trash in their local nature known. The interest in the campaign and the number of participants showed that people are interested in decreasing littering and in the well-being of nature’, Muurikka says.

‘We were also delighted about the communality evident through the campaign, and about how different people and groups participated. We can strengthen our shared responsibility of our local environment by doing things together’, she continues.

The campaign is continued

The campaign is intended to be continued and expanded in the future years on the basis of the experiences gained this year. The challenge campaign is to be made an annual tradition which can be used to inform people about the harm to the environment of littering and the themes of circular economy and sustainable development.

The trial was carried out by the Circwaste project and Greenreality services of the Lappeenranta Region’s Environmental Office, in cooperation with Etelä-Karjalan Jätehuolto Oy and local Lions Clubs. The project was funded by the Circular economy experiments of the Place of experiment service.

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