A garbage truck that collects sorted garbage can not drive through all farms, because the cost of fuel and carbon dioxide emissions will make such a venture meaningless and unprofitable. For this we need some special solutions. They can help
to cope with the problem of sorting not only in Finland, but also in the neighboring "Russian" Karelia. So, Moritz decided to apply for a cross-border project called "WasteLess Karelias
The Russian version does not fully reflect the essence of the Moritz initiative. In the original English name "WasteLess Karelias", the word "Karelia" is in the plural. It is important for understanding that in both Karelias — both "Russian"
and "Finnish", North Karelia — there are similar problems, and there should be similar ways to solve them.
"When we conceived this project, more than two years ago, we understood that not everything is perfect in Finland, but
for Russia, garbage is still a huge problem. And that the Finnish approach to sorting and handling waste may be suitable for Russia. This applies specifically to landfills, which are full in Karelia, and the management of the entire waste
management system in rural areas. Of course, in 2016 we did not think that a new law would appear in Russia and that all municipalities would be obliged to follow the new rules. But even without this, it was clear that the problem with garbage
should be solved," Moritz comments on the idea of the project.
Reeta Rönkkö, project partner, agrees with Albrecht that there are still enough problems in Finland and that the specific problems of rural settlements are somewhat
similar on both sides of the border. Her organization, the Association for Rural Culture and Education (Maaseudun Sivistysliitto, MSL), has worked in rural areas in Finland and the neighboring Russian Republic of Karelia for many years.
According to Reet, the main task of MSL in such projects is "the development of rural areas based on the interests of people and solving problems in such a way that local people themselves determine the most pressing issues, find solutions
themselves and put them into practice."
In the field of waste management, according to the MLS staff, the Finnish countryside is far from perfect:
"In fact, people here are not very motivated to separate garbage
collection and prefer to throw everything in one package. Not because they do not want to take care of nature, but because the distances to the nearest separate station or eco-points are usually very large. Besides, villagers, especially
the older generation, there is a majority of them in the villages, do not always have enough specific knowledge about how and why to sort garbage at home. It also happens (although it is rare) that a villager would prefer to throw his old
sofa or refrigerator into the forest rather than take it for recycling," Rönkkö admits.
As part of the project, sites will appear in two villages on the Finnish side of the border, where both mixed waste containers and separate
waste collection containers will be installed. The idea is simple: you need to economically motivate people to sort waste.
"On the Finnish side, we understand where to go: in the direction of greater centralization of container
sites in rural areas. For example, if at least two or three dozen families agree to carry (not to drive!) their garbage to a common container site, and not to throw garbage into an individual container near the house, then this is a win-win
situation for everyone. A garbage truck makes fewer stops and does less harm to the environment, and the family pays less money for garbage collection. Therefore, in our project on the Finnish side, we are trying to move precisely in this
direction. On the Russian side, there are clearly more problems. And for the time being it is not completely clear to us how to solve them in each particular case," says Moritz Albrecht.
For those who agree to abandon individual
containers near the house and will carry garbage to the container site, the tariff for garbage collection will be significantly reduced. According to preliminary estimates, at least twice. If today every Finnish household has to pay a fixed
fee of 23 euros per year for waste disposal and another 6.5 euros for each arrival of the garbage truck (at least once every two months), then at least 62 euros a year. In fact, despite the smaller amount of waste produced, in rural areas
the garbage is removed more often, because few people sort it and the container near the house is filled faster. Therefore, you pay more for garbage collection. For a collective container site, the tariff is fixed, it is 35 euros per year
MSL already has experience in joint container sites. With their help, such a platform was recently built in the town of Kherajärvi. There, everyone who participates in joint garbage collection, and there are more
and more such people, are satisfied.