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Results: CircHubs – Future Circular Economy Hubs in Finland

Jenni Nurmi, Ecolan Oy (screenshot from the CircHubs video below).

The CircHubs – Future Circular Economy Hubs in Finland project focused on developing the circular economy hubs of the six largest cities in Finland. The project’s goal was to seek new business and business models as well as new types of cooperation between the Six Cities and circular economy actors. An additional goal was to support the commercialisation of innovations related to the circular economy.

Results of the CircHubs project

  • Over 300 companies participated in the CircHubs project, and counting other organisations, the project involved over 400 organisations.
  • In the Tampere region, CircHubs developed new circular economy solutions by piloting them with companies. The solutions tested were related to the following areas, among others:
    • the use of recycled materials in road structures
    • the use of biochar in the processing of rainwater
    • the treatment of contaminated soil
    • the processing techniques of biomasses that promote the nutrient cycle
    • diverse growth platforms
    • air quality monitoring.
  • The project commissioned material flow reports on soil and biomasses, the utilisation of ashes and the utilisation possibilities of construction materials. The bottlenecks and business potential highlighted in the reports were tackled in cooperation with companies and other circular economy actors in idea generation events and workshops, followed by sparring sessions, for example, focusing on specific areas and the pilots themselves.
  • In the Tampere region, pilots were carried out in the ECO3 and Taraste areas as well as in Hiedanranta. In Hiedanranta, they focused particularly on the development of operating models in construction that support circularity and on the utilisation of construction materials (such as demolition materials). To support the general plan for Hiedanranta, the project also commissioned a report on low-carbon logistics in the area. The reports compiled in the project can also be utilised at the development sites of other cities.
Ekopartnerit sought new ways of recycling insulation wool in Topinpuisto’s business sparring sessions, pictured here is Production Manager Jarno Tuomola. Photo: Johanna Liipola/Muotomyrsky.
  • Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto (LSJH) and Turku University of Applied Sciences developed the operations of the Topinpuisto circular economy network and the Circular Economy Visitor Centre concept. The new visitor centre is planned to be implemented in 2023. The concept was developed in collaboration with companies and piloted at LSJH’s Visitor Centre Kahmari throughout the project. The pilot exhibition at Visitor Centre Kahmari and the There Was Material Once Again exhibition at Visitor Centre Joki were attended by over 2,300 visitors.
  • In Topinpuisto, CircHubs developed new circular economy and second-life concepts, including a sparring service for companies, and carried out various pilots (such as the collection of decommissioned electrical equipment directly from properties). Turku University of Applied Sciences prefaced cooperation between students and companies with the likes of circular economy reports compiled and pilots carried out by students. The aim is to expand the circular economy learning environment to the entire university.
  • The Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY developed an R&D&I operating model for the systematisation and development of the research, development and innovation operations of the Six Cities’ circular economy hubs.
  • Tampere University prepared a tool for categorising the structure and actors of the circular economy hubs and concretised the hubs’ ecosystems via surveys and visualisations. These tools help the hubs to see what kind of operator model would be best suited to them and what kind of cooperation facilitates the development of the hubs.
  • The project developed regional information production and business development relating to circularity by compiling material flow and recycling reports, as well as by developing a regional community waste census. In addition to waste received by waste management companies, the method also covers other regional community waste flows, and is the first of its kind. The report Uudelleenkäyttö ja sen edistäminen (‘Recycling and the promotion thereof’) was also the first of its kind to be published about the topic in Finland. The reports can be utilised by both the public and private sectors in the development of circular economy, in addition to which companies can utilise them as a basis for their business operations.
  • The CircHubs project also created a network between the circular economy hubs, which will continue to operate after the project as well and expanded beyond the participating cities during the project.

Project materials are available in the Data Bank at

The main goals of the CircHubs project were to support the development and piloting of new circular economy business models, collect regional information about material flows and bottlenecks in their utilisation and promote cooperation between the six largest cities in Finland and their circular economy actors. The project was coordinated by Business Tampere, with the other project parties being the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY, Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto Oy, Kiertokaari, Tampere University, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Ekokumppanit and the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE. The project ran from 1 May 2017 to 30 September 2019 and had a budget of EUR 2.2 million.

Further information
Pirkko Eteläaho
Project Manager
Business Tampere

Tuomas Alijoki
Project Coordinator
Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto Oy

Piia Nurmi
Leader of Education and Research
Turku University of Applied Sciences

Tuomas Räsänen
Project Manager
Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY

Henna Teerihalme
Material Efficiency Expert
Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY

Helmi Riihimäki
Environmental Manager

Leena Aarikka-Stenroos
Head of Research Group, Associate Professor
Tampere University

Hannele Väyrynen
Project Manager
Tampere University

Suvi Holm
Managing Director

Teija Haavisto
Senior Coordinator
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE