Päijät-Häme Waste Management Ltd (PHJ) is in charge of municipal waste management for the City of Lahti . PHJ is a company owned by 10 municipalities and handles reception, processing and utilization of municipal waste (Fig. A1). The operation area covers approximately 200 000 residents. PHJ’s operations management system is certified with relevant standards: the Environmental Management System (ISO 14001:2015), the Quality Management System (ISO 9001:2015) and the Occupational Health and Safety System (OHSAS 18001:2007).
PHJ’s assignments include consulting and developing waste management. According to the PHJ strategy, waste management is handled as broadly, efficiently and economically as possible.
Included in PHJ’s main strategy goals are:
Improving waste management expertise into a growth-oriented business.High material recycling rate.Reducing negative environmental impacts.
The Kujala Waste Centre (Fig. A1) is the main PHJ site and is its only waste treatment site. Completed in 2001, the site covers 70 hectares, and offers business premises for several private companies as well.
LABIO Ltd provides biowaste and sludge processing services to industries, waste management operators and communities  (8B).
Private companies also work as waste handlers and utilizers in the Lahti region [e.g. Kuusakoski Ltd, Stena Ltd and Purkupiha Ltd (including construction waste processing and utilizing)].
Prevention of Waste Production
PHJ has many campaigns, such as the 4-year BioBertta campaign, in the Päijät-Häme region, to reduce food waste .
The City of Lahti has an environmental counselling unit (8B).
PHJ’s “LOKKI” calendar, with waste information, is distributed yearly, to all households and companies.
PHJ’s website: Kierrätyskaista , where residents can sell, trade and give away usable goods, also includes a search feature to assist waste sorting .
In 2016, the Kujala Waste Centre started accepting usable goods, in cooperation with PHJ and Lahden Työn Paikka Ltd, which offers work possibilities for long-term unemployed persons. [6, 7]. Recycled goods may be pimped, and are offered for sale.
There are private recycling centres for usable goods in Lahti.
The Municipal Waste Management System
Receiving and Processing Waste at Kujala Waste Centre
PHJ is in charge of handling municipal solid waste that is not part of the producers’ responsibilities. Waste management is funded from waste payments and other waste-based incomes. Waste management can be improved in a socially, economically and ecologically feasible way.
The Pilleri Waste stationis located in Kujala. Since PHJ cooperates with producer communities, Pilleri also receives electronic waste, tyres, paper and packaging waste. Waste can be sorted into at least twenty different types (incl. bins forplaster, roofing felt and sanitary porcelain).
Separately collected biowaste, garden waste and sewage sludge from households (along with biowaste and sludge from industry and companies) are composted in LABIO Ltd’s biogas and composting facility. In 2016, the amount of municipal biowaste and garden waste was approximately 73 kg/inhabitant.
PHJ is striving to achieve a 50% recycling rate by processing waste into raw materials for industry and by minimizing the amount of waste incinerated or taken to a landfill. The LATE sorting plant , is the first of its kind in Finland to tackle this issue.The plant separates fibres, plastics and metals that can be recycled or further processed (Fig. A3). The LATE sorting plant receives 250 tons of waste a day (66 000 tons per year), contains 51 individual devices and includes 14 exit points for sorted material. The optical sorters sort valuable and recyclable materials into separate fractions with high accuracy.
The waste that cannot be recycled is sent for energy recovery (Fig. A4). The separately collected energy waste and dirty plastics sorted at LATE are shredded for fuel in the MURRE crushing plant. The fuel is mainly sold to the Kymijärvi II power plant (Lahti Energy Ltd), where it produces 50 MW of electricity and 90 MW of heat. Approximately 90% of Lahti’s residents live in buildings with district heating using this energy.
In 2016, the recovery rate was 97% for municipal waste, with 3% ending up in landfills (figures include all municipal waste from the area, except separately collected packaging/plastic waste or electronic devices received by stores). 42% of the total municipal waste was recovered as material. Energy waste and mixed waste were recovered as energy (Fig. A5).
Despite all of our efforts to curb waste production, the generated amount of municipal waste (kg/inhab.) is still quite high (Fig. B1). The most effective measure for control of waste management has been regulations on municipal waste management (incl. sorting regulations) along with economic guidance and consulting.
The utilization level has increased considerably over the last 10 years (Fig. B1) and is now over 90%. Previously, the focus has been on utilizing waste as an energy source. Our future challenge is to raise the share of material recycling.
Increasing the Share of Sorted Waste
Consulting events and campaigns are organized at kindergartens, schools, libraries, housing cooperatives, fairs and at the Kujala Waste Centre (Fig. B2).The environmental counselling unit of the City of Lahti advises residents at events throughout the PHJ operational area. With the help of the special eco-van, Kaisla, residents throughout the region are reached (Fig. B2). Many NGOs and smaller municipalities around Lahti often use this service .We have many campaigns to encourage residents to sort waste. For example, with the “Luukuta oikein” campaign (2015-2016), Lahti Housing Ltd succeeded in reducing the number of “mixed waste” bins and clarified the liability of waste management distribution for properties. The campaign covered about 5% of all residents of Lahti .The amount of separately collected biowaste has increased over the past ten years (Fig. B3). Approximately half of the residents are within the reach of separate biowaste collection, in the operational area (i.e. about 110 000 residents). Effective consulting and economical guidance have helped to achieve the good results .It has been possible to keep the biowaste processing price lower than that for mixed waste processing. In 2016, the biowaste processing price was 79 € per ton, while it was 111 €per ton for mixed waste (VAT 0%).
Evolution of Waste Management
Over the past 25 years, 15 landfills have been closed within PHJ’s operational area.In 2012, Kymijärvi II, an innovative waste gasification plant, and combined heat and power plant was completed (investment 165 M€).In 2013, Lahti Aqua Ltd started utilizing the biogas generated in the sludge processing. The energy is utilized for heating and the rest goes to the city’s district heating network.In 2015, a new collection system based on the legislation of producer responsibility for packaging waste was started. National Rinki Ltd is owned by the companies who pack or import packed products. Rinki Ltd has 53 Eco take-back points in the Päijät-Häme Region. The amounts of packaging waste collected by Rinki are not included in the figures presented in this, Chapter 8.
The composting facility started operations in 2005 (Fig. B4). The biogas production and refining plant, LABIO Ltd (owned by Lahti Aqua Ltd and Päijät-Häme Waste Management Ltd), was completed in 2014, making it Finland’s largest biowaste treatment plant. The investment totalled 17 M€.
Liquid Waste Processing in Kujala
LATE Sorting Plant (started at the end of 2016)
Other Utilization of the Kujala Waste Centre
Challenges to Be Solved
One general challenge for local waste management is to achieve a more comprehensive picture of its entire waste production and utilization in the area. Currently, we have good data on municipal waste (sources, utilization and development needs). However, we only know a little about industrial waste, agricultural waste and waste from construction businesses. A more wide-ranging picture that encompasses all waste production and utilization in the area is needed to minimize the current level of material loss (Fig. C1).
The solution to this problem is available. A circular economy roadmap of the Päijät-Häme Region was recently finalized and it includes a wide variety of different actions covering a vast amount of different waste segments and businesses . The work was conducted by the Lahti University of Applied Sciences and began with a thorough analysis of material flows in the region.
The roadmap includes five general themes, each with a strategic goal for 2030. One of the themes includes material circulation. To implement these goals, each theme has from three to seven regional actions, for a combined total of 26.
Another challenge is to improve municipal waste management at the location where the real estate owners arrange their waste transportation. Each property chooses a transportation company to empty their waste bins. Thus, garbage trucks from various transportation companies drive around the same area, which increases emissions, compared to a centrally coordinated system. Also, economic counselling is difficult, due to market-based business pricing. The transportation system challenges the reshaping of waste sorting. The transportation system has been decided on by the regional waste management authority, Päijät-Häme Waste Committee. The transportation system decision will again be addressed at the beginning of 2018.
Municipal waste management goals are included in PHJ’s strategy for 2020.
The City of Lahti and the Finnish Sustainable Communities (FISU)
The City of Lahti joined the Finnish Sustainable Communities (FISU) network in 2016 . Lahti applied to the network, signed the agreement and committed to working towards becoming carbon neutral and waste-free, and to curbing overconsumption by 2050. This goal has been already incorporated into the Lahti City Strategy.
The roadmap on how to achieve these aims is currently being developed. This roadmap will be the key strategic guide, in coming years. The Finnish Sustainable Communities form a support network for each other. A service centre, consisting of experts from the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and Motiva (an energy efficiency company), supports and coordinates the work.