The Finnish re-use centre works with the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority to provide expert lessons for students, residents and educators.
The re-use centre, Pääkaupunkiseudun Kierrätyskeskus (PK), is a non-profit social enterprise operating 9 re-use shops in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (Finland). An essential part of its activities focus on Environmental Education.
PK cooperates with the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY) to provide expert lessons for students ranging from kindergarten to high school, for residents, educators and broader working communities.
Every 3 years, HSY puts out a call for tenders to provide training and educational services for schools and residents. PK has succeeded every year.
The topics of these educational classes focus on leading sustainable lifestyles through effective waste reduction and management as well as sustainable consumption through re-use and repair. PK offers courses on home waste management, sorting, water consumption and composting as well as tailor-made environmental management training to companies, organisations and other public authorities, with the possibility of obtaining an official certificate. For instance, PK organised handcrafting workshops as teambuilding sessions for companies and public authorities, including the Finnish Ministry of Education.
While environmental advice is free for residents, music performances, guided crafts, environmental games and specific workshops are subject to a fee as they require trained teams and solid pedagogical expertise.

Resources needed

10 employees in training and education activities and ≈20 gig employees.
The total cost of training activities: ≈ €400000/year.
≈60% is financed by HSY purchases,
≈25% of costs are covered by the sales of re-usable goods within PK’s re-use shops and the rest comes from project financing.

Evidence of success

Training courses and other educational activities reach more than 65 000 people/year. The number of events/participants are growing every year. Based on the amount of employees and customers, PK is the largest and oldest environmental school offering activities for children and young people in Finland. PK is therefore valuable/helpful in educating and raising awareness for various population groups from public administrations, companies and organisations to students and everyday citizens.

Difficulties encountered

- Labourious/expensive to keep up with changing trends + produce high quality teaching content/learning materials
- More funding is required to promote environmental awareness through tools and platforms
- End users have needs but very little resources, meaning funding has to come from elsewhere

Potential for learning or transfer

This best practice showcases the great positive impact that comes from cooperation between public authorities and third sector entities. It clearly demonstrates how strong relations between regional public authorities and social actors can bring about solid awareness and quality education services and training.
This tendering process put out by a regional public administration aiming to improve circular and re-use practices through education, training and overall awareness raising can be replicated by other public authorities across EU regions. Schools do not always have the money to benefit from quality support themselves, so the fact that a regional environmental authority provides such a service is of paramount importance. In turn, this allows for more environmentally conscious populations, SMEs and authorities focusing on re-use practices requiring less natural resource extraction.

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Main institution
Pääkaupunkiseudun Kierrätyskeskus
Helsinki-Uusimaa, Finland (Suomi)
Start Date
June 1990
End Date


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