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Five ways to recycle at Helsinki Airport

16.11.2015 at 07:00
Backrests become space dividers, old uniform fabrics feature in new outfits, and books are passed from passenger to passenger. Recycling is visible in many ways at Helsinki Airport.    

Recycling and the use of renewable natural resources have traditionally been seen as Finnish strong points. At Helsinki Airport, they provide both a way to save and to stand out.

Every opportunity to recycle is carefully considered.

'All solutions implemented at the airport must be resistant to wear, easy to maintain, and completely safe', says Customer Experience Manager Johanna Metsälä from Finavia.

Recycled composite materials and surplus backrests

Finavia pays more and more attention to the recyclability of everything, starting from the furnishings.

'The check-in and gate desks, for example, are crafted partly of natural materials and partly of pressed composites made from surplus materials. This material can be ground like wood', Metsälä explains.              

New and old were combined in a novel way in the waiting area at Gate 21, renovated last summer. 

New plank-type benches were built on the old metallic bench frames. The corridor was separated from the waiting area by a handy divider made from surplus plywood backrests.

Recycling and circulating books

Did you forget to bring something to read during your flight? Or did you already reach the last page?

At the Book Swap point in the Kainuu lounge you can pick up something new to read free of charge, and leave the books you've already read for other travellers to enjoy.            

'If the shelves look a little empty, we can quickly get more books from our partner, the recycling centre. They have plenty of English novels, for instance', Metsälä points out. 

Airport employees also often bring books to our Book Swap point. 

New outfits with something old

Finavia service advisers have been wearing new outfits this year. They are easier to care for, more functional, more stylish, and even more ecological than the previous ones.  

'The new outfits incorporate some of the pale blue fabric from our old uniforms. Nearly one-third of each skirt and tunic is composed of the old fabric', says Heidi Nousiainen, the person responsible for well-being at work for Finavia.

From the beach to the waiting area

Helsinki Airport keeps increasing its use of recycled materials.

The topic currently under discussion is how to use recycled materials in the bus waiting area scheduled to be completed next summer. 

In the near future, an unusually sturdy seat is going to be placed in the gate waiting area: a recycled piece of a cliff from a Finnish beach. 

Bottles to recycling containers instead of rubbish bins

Passengers can take part in the recycling effort as well by disposing of empty bottles in recycling containers instead of rubbish bins before the security check. 

The bottles are collected and recycled,  and the bottle deposit proceeds are donated to Plan Suomi for charity purposes.

Read more in our annual report: Waste management at the airport