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Waste sorting: Old disposal habits die hard

By 6.6.2019June 11th, 2019No Comments

As much as I love living in Student Village West and sharing the big common kitchen with the other 11 tenants, there are issues of recycling and waste sorting that bother me. This probably is the only obvious nuisance that I have to address, and hopefully in the future it won’t be much of a problem anymore.

Totally Doable

Waste sorting and recycling is unbelievably easy in Finland. When I was sharing my home with 2 housemates in a shared apartment in Halinen area, we were able to practically sort most household wastes from burnable trash to bio waste, paper, metal or cardboard packaging. It did take up some room in the kitchen as we did not take out paper or metal waste out daily; and some time to washout and dry liquid cardboard packages or food cans, yet it was totally possible and doable. The location where the waste containers were very close to our residence, so it never took more than 5 minutes to take the disposals there.

When I visited my friend who also resided in a TYS’s three-shared apartment in Isponen, I was so impressed when noticing that they are supplied biodegradable trash bags by some sort of Waste Angels. Well, actually I have no idea who or which organization is behind that beautiful idea but you get the idea. I was taking out the bio waste with her then she showed me the little metal box on one side of the waste container containing free paper bags for bio waste. It is such a cool initiative to encourage residents to sort waste and recycle, since tenants do not have to purchase separate trash bags for bio garbage. Yes, so to speak, no wonder Finland is the greenest country in the world. 

Bigger the household, bigger the problem.

Sadly, it isn’t really the entire picture. Most of people I know, or sharing the common kitchen with, do not practice waste sorting. I suppose sorting waste is easier and more feasible when residents live in smaller households. With 12 tenants and one big common kitchen, it is understandable that bio waste is not a priority. Since the kitchen trash is taken out every three or four times per week by TYS’s employed cleaners, it would add a huge amount of workload to them. However, it seems like people don’t really separate waste at all. It is so common to find cardboard, metal cans, glass bottles or jars in the kitchen waste container. Although it is strongly suggested that only cooking waste should be put there, many choose convenience over recycling.

One big waste container in one common kitchen.

One argument is that there is no place to separate trash in the common kitchen, and it would be silly to bring food cans, glass jars or bottles back to individuals’ rooms because it’s like bringing trash home. Except for beverage containers that are in the deposit-refund system Palpa, then it’s totally fine to bring trash back to one’s home. I suppose there are other underlying reasons why waste sorting is not a common practice, which I am in no place to make assumptions.

Again, Totally Doable.

For daily household waste, there are several locations where you can find waste separation containers like these in Student Village West area.

They usually have labeled in three languages, so it is very easy for one to find which trash goes where. It certainly takes some time and practice when you start separating and sorting waste, but then what a few minutes a day compared to saving the Planet? At the same time, you would notice other people do it too. Actually, most people do it, because it’s cool. Simple things like waste sorting are what make Finland the greenest country in the world.

Maybe you and your neighbors can discuss about this over a cup of coffee this Neighbor Weeks? Probably not by knocking on their doors and accusing them of not recycling though, because that wouldn’t be cool either. Old habits certainly take awhile to go away, but it will certainly be gone forever if one’s determined to change.

Hello blog readers! Thank you for stopping by. I am a Vietnamese student at UTU majoring in Education, loving and living life here in Turku , Finland. I’m gonna write about the exciting life of an international student who’s trying to complete her degrees while learning to appreciate the Finnish weathers <3.