Skip to Content

Awareness-raising practices


Environmental education in Finland

According to the Waste Act, municipalities are responsible for organizing guidance, communications and raise-awareness aiming to decrease of amount of generated waste and food waste, decrease harmfulness of waste, improve sorting, promote separate collection, decrease littering and implementing waste management in general.

In practice, municipal waste management companies provide guidance and education on waste management to local day cares, schools, housing associations, resident groups, associations and communities in the form of free lessons and materials to support environmental education, courses on composting, etc.

Read more:


National biowaste campaign

Still, 10-15 per cent of edible food is wasted in Finland throughout the food chain. Most food waste is generated in households (35 per cent of food waste). Food waste is also generated in food services, shops and the food industry. Households’ food waste corresponds to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of around 100,000 average passenger cars. Finland is committed to halving its food waste by 2030.

To address this challenge, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture have launched a National Biowaste Campaign together with several other organizations during 2020-2021. President of Finland Sauli Niinistö was the patron of the campaign.

The campaign has highlighted ways to sort biowaste and reduce food waste. During 2020-2021, awareness of the necessity and means of sorting biowaste and food waste has been brought up in different communication channels and media by municipal waste management companies as well as grocery stores, restaurants, canteens and hotels.


Why biowaste is not sorted enough?

According to the background study supporting the campaign, sorting of biowaste is considered less important than other domestic waste, and the further use of the waste is not known. Biowaste is believed to become degradable among mixed waste. The usefulness of sorting may give rise to uncertainty. The idea of other people as free riders and the indifference of others may undermine one’s own sorting enthusiasm. On the other hand, social pressure at workplaces or close friends encourages sorting.

Lack or impracticality of suitable space or sorting containers makes it more difficult to start sorting and enthusiasm for sorting. Biowaste is considered disgusting and smelly. According to some of the responses, biowaste is not even generated, although it is practically impossible.

Reducing food waste is not questioned in the same way as sorting organic waste. However, raw materials are easily forgotten in the kitchen shelves if they are not immediately used. The utilization and further use of overused food or raw materials seems difficult. Further use of food will be postponed. When food becomes unedible, throwing it away is acceptable.

Changing of people’s routines is challenging. Also, is difficult to identify the amount of biowaste and food waste generated in the household, which is why they or the significance of one’s own behaviour tend to be underestimated.

Photo by Jan Piatkowski on Unsplash

The tips and instructions below are originally devised for Finland but are to the great extent applicable also for other countries.

Back top top