Circular economy requires changes in operating methods

Circular economy is a growing theme in sustainability and K Group is undertaking a number of measures to promote it. Circular economy requires changes in established operating methods, and therefore, we are developing innovative circular economy solutions in all our divisions.

Kesko is committed to supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in its operations. Promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and circular economy is a central aspect of Kesko's sustainability programme.

Our most recent actions to promote circular economy include the introduction of the Pirkka fish patty; the Pirkka ESSI shopping bag, made from recycled household packaging plastics; using biogas made from organic waste from retail in the production of new Pirkka products; the Kinkkutemppu campaign to reuse cooking fat for fuel; the Liiteri power tool rental service; and the Caara used car service.

The Pirkka fish patty promotes sustainable fishing

Catching cyprinid fish (bream and roach) for human consumption effectively reduces the environmental burden on the Baltic Sea. Food production is one of the main burdens on the Baltic Sea environment but recycling nutrients from bodies of water by means of fishing is a benefit of the circular economy model.

In April 2017, K-food stores introduced the first Pirkka product made from Finnish bream. The Pirkka fish patty is made from bream caught in John Nurminen Foundation’s Local Fishing Project, which aims to promote sustainable fishing.

Turning household plastics into Pirkka ESSI shopping bags

Plastic bags cause problems when they end up in waterways and elsewhere in the environment. In October 2016, K Group published its plastics policy and committed to take measures to reduce the consumption of plastic bags.

Our selections offer alternatives to plastic bags: reusable bags, canvas bags, burlap bags as well as paper bags and bags made of recycled plastic. The latest alternative to plastic bags is the Pirkka ESSI shopping bag made from plastic packaging recycled by households.

The Pirkka ESSI shopping bag is made by Amerplast, and it is the first plastic bag in Finland made from recycled household plastics. A minimum of 45% of the recycled plastics used as raw material for the Pirkka ESSI shopping bag is plastic packaging waste from households. A minimum of 45% of the recycled plastics comes from industry.

Biogas produced from food waste converted into energy for producing new Pirkka products

Since 2015, Kesko, Gasum, Myllyn Paras and Wursti have been working together and using biogas produced from inedible organic waste from the K-food stores and the Kesko Logistics central warehouse as energy in the production of new Pirkka products.

In 2016, approximately 3,700 tonnes of organic waste was transformed into 2,800 MWh of biogas. Biogas made from waste is 100% renewable energy of Finnish origin. CO2 emissions were reduced by 550 tonnes compared to natural gas and by 740 tonnes compared to fuel oil.

Four times around the globe by means of  the cooking fat from Christmas hams

In 2016, K Group participated in the Kinkkutemppu campaign, in which customers could bring the cooking fat from their Christmas hams to K-store recycling stations. The fat was reused at a refining plant for renewable diesel.

Customers recycled 12,000 kg of cooking fat, which was converted into 10,000 litres of renewable diesel. This would be enough to drive around the globe four times.

All proceeds from the diesel sales were donated to Hope ry, an organisation helping low-income families and to the sports charity organisation Icehearts.

Liiteri piloted the rental of power tools

In 2016, K-Rauta was a partner in a trial that allowed urban home renovators to use the online service to rent high-quality battery-powered Ryobi tools and Kärcher equipment for cleaning.

The tools and equipment rented in the Liiteri service could be conveniently picked up at the Liiteri service point – open 24 hours per day and easily accessible by public transportation – at Teurastamo in Helsinki. An environmentally friendly home delivery service was also available through PiggyBaggy.

The trial was a success, and consumers welcomed this new range of circular economy services. In 2017, the service continues in the Teurastamo area in Helsinki.

Caara – a new kind of online dealer for used vehicles

In 2016, the VV-Auto dealership launched Caara, a digital online service for purchasing used cars. operates online only and has no traditional showrooms.

The purchased vehicle is either delivered to the customer’s home or to a preset location, where the new owner picks it up. In the greater Helsinki area, the service also offers test driving opportunities and the customer’s own car can be assessed during the same visit. The customer can also send pictures and the history data of their current car for an assessment.

Not everybody wants to own a car, especially in the greater Helsinki Area. The CaaraGo service was developed to meet the needs of these consumers: they can obtain a car for temporary and short-term needs (one month – 12 months).

We will continue to develop more and more circular economy solutions. Read more:

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