Lakeuden Ympäristöhuolto Oy started to use the first optical waste sorting management in Finland. The company collects waste material from constraction sites, companies and also some public organizations. As a result of the new optical waste sorting the company is capable of reusing the materials unlike anybody else in Finland.
Lakeuden Ympäristöhuolto is collecting plastic, metal, glass, wood etc. For instance the plastic will be optically analyzed, and the different types of plastics will be sorted to be reused. Optic sorting is capable of doing the sorting efficiently and in a way that human eye could not do it.
In Finland, municipalities have their own waste management sites which the private consumers are oblidged to use. They have significantly built more capacity to burn the reusable material. According to Lakeuden Ympäristöhuolto significant amounts of reusable materials from individual households are burned each year rather than being reused. The problem is that according to Finnish law, the municipalities are collecting the waste from the private individuals.
Even though recycling is getting more and more popular in Finland, individuals are not capable of sorting the materials as optical systems would be. For example different types of plastic cannot be sorted by individuals in a way, that they would be reusable right away.
Lakeuden Ympäristöhuolto used to directly reuse 58% of the materials received. 34% were used for energy production and 7% for other things such as biogas. As a result of the optical sorting system the company is capable of reusing 85% of the material received. The change is very significant.
Recycling done by human eye/hand is not the best way in the modern world. People are lazy to do recycling and their skills for sorting materials are limited. Today better technologies are available and should be widely used.
The European Union and the member states need to put pressure on using the state of art technology for more efficient recycling. We can’t waste the valuable materials by burning them or not reusing them.
A system needs to be created in which companies efficiently collect and reuse their materials. Lakeuden Ympäristöhuolto mentioned City of New York as an example for Europe on reusing materials and sorting them optically48.