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New opportunities for Finnish waste management opening up in Georgia

In this week's column Lana Korbelainen tells about endless opportunities for Finnish waste management technologies and expertise in Georgia.

Finland is tackling the global waste problem from various angles: Finnish children learn how to sort waste already in kindergarten and the country uses the most cutting-edge technologies for waste collection and treatment. When doing their weekly grocery shopping, Finns prefer long-lasting bags to disposable plastic ones, and they recycle almost 100 per cent of their beverage bottles and cans.

The situation with waste management is not the same in other countries. Due to this fact, cleaning one “room” of our common “apartment” does not solve the problem, if trash continues to accumulate in other rooms.

The waste problem has long been on the agenda of the Government of Georgia. At the moment, Georgia is looking for investors and partners from Finland to implement waste management projects. Finland and Georgia have had a friendly relationship for years: Finland has been supporting the process of EU integration for Georgia and encouraging new opportunities for collaboration between the countries. The number of Finnish tourists visiting Georgia has been growing every year and, due to the popularity of Georgian cuisine in Finland, already the fourth Georgian restaurant has opened its doors in the Helsinki region.

After gaining independence, Georgia has adopted best practices from other countries to bring new investments and technologies into the country. Nowadays, Georgia is a country with an amazing business climate, which continues to develop at an unimaginable rate. Anyone can register their own company here and open a bank account in just a day.

Of course, there are many inherited problems in the country. One of them is waste management. With a few exceptions, the country’s landfills do not comply with international landfill regulations. Even in the protected areas of Georgia, there are problems with plastic waste. Regular litter picks organised by local volunteers do not solve the problem, for as they say, “it is clean not where one cleans, but where one does not litter”.

Georgia has recently adopted national waste strategies and legal initiatives to reduce waste. For example, a new waste management legislation obliging households to sort their waste entered into force at the beginning of 2018.

Finnish companies have advanced waste management technologies that have been working successfully for decades. It is a country where children, starting from an early age, know about garbage and where they can throw it away. There is also a common understanding that littering in nature is unacceptable.

Finnish educational programmes for children can help Georgia to change public attitudes to household waste, while training programmes for qualified personnel working at waste management facilities can help in utilising Finland’s experience.

Finland has waste management technologies and experience that can be exported to other countries – and implemented in Georgia!

Published on 26.07.2018