Spotlight on the circular economy

A circular economy is an economic system that keeps materials and products in circulation for as long as possible in order to retain their value. The aim is to minimise waste in production and consumption, and to operate within the limits of the environment’s carrying capacity.

The circular economy has been identified as a necessary business model around the world due to rapidly advancing climate change and dwindling raw material resources. According to Sitra, circular economy solutions can actually help solve the climate crisis and get the environment back on its feet. Yet only 9% of the world economy is circular by nature.

This is the first time we are featuring the circular economy in Wood magazine, and we hope there will be more to come. The circular economy needs to be a driving force for everything we do, and wood is the perfect material for making this happen. In this issue, we present you with recent research findings, various challenges in implementing a circular economy, and of course a few good success stories.

Wood construction has supported the circular economy for centuries, but modern times have actually made this more difficult. In the Aarreaitat project, Minna Aarnio found that Finnish legislation gave less leeway than other European countries, disallowing the reuse of old wooden windows in auxiliary buildings, for example. In her guest piece, Aarnio lists measures that, if implemented, would make such circular economy methods possible in Finland as well.

In addition to Aarreaitat, this issue also includes other construction projects close to nature: shelters, cottages, saunas. The WoodCircus project presented in this issue found the construction process for small houses to be a good example of the Finnish circular economy. Not only is the construction of a wooden house an environmental act in itself, life in such a house can resemble a circular economy: weekends and holidays can be spent in one’s own backyard, waste management is often handled by the owner, and there is even room to grow your own food.

We Finns are known to have a healthy relationship with the nature around us, which can give us an edge in the development of the European circular economy. A healthy respect for nature can inspire and drive us to create products for the circular economy.

Text: Anu Turunen, Project manager, Puuinfo

Read the article in Finnish: Kiertotalous keskiöön