Fortum’s and K-Group’s collaboration got under way last year with a consumer survey of K-Group’s customer community Kylä. The aim of the survey was to find out consumer perceptions of recycled plastic. The survey findings showed that consumers perceived recycled plastic as a suitable material for many purposes. Cleaning supplies, small household items, garden furniture and tools were seen as the best uses for recycled plastic. Consumers also felt that products made out of recycled plastic gave meaning to the sorting of plastic packages in households and wished that the origin of the material were communicated on products, for example with a specific symbol.
The research, cooperation and innovation resulted in a tangible product, Kekkilä’s Garden Composter, when the horticultural company Kekkilä joined the effort. The raw material for the Garden Composter is Fortum Circo® recycled plastic, made from plastic packages collected from Finnish households.
"Households are sorting more and more plastics at home, and that creates the basis for recycling and for products made from recycled plastic. A successful recycling chain – from plastic waste to a finished product on the store shelf – requires every link in the chain, from consumers to manufacturers of materials and products, brand owners and operators in the trade industry. This kind of cooperation with brand owners, producers and retailers speeds up the introduction of new products to the market, and the Garden Composter is a perfect example ", says Brand Sales Manager Anniina Rasmus, Fortum.
"We want to invest in products that are more sustainable, and the consumer research gave us a good insight into which product groups customers want products that are made from recycled plastic. Kekkilä is a Finnish partner that we are familiar with, so it was easy to work with them to start developing a product made from recycled plastic," says Leena Takaveräjä, Sustainability Manager of K-Group's Building and Technical Trade division.
Kekkilä's goal is to bring consumers easy and functional solutions for a more sustainable everyday life. "We are constantly looking for new ways to increase the share of recycled materials and side streams in the manufacturing of our products. A garden composter made from Fortum Circo recycled plastic that has been collected from Finnish consumers is a significant step towards a more sustainable tomorrow. The composter makes it easy for the consumer to implement a circular economy at home and reduce the amount of waste generated," sums up Product Manager Janne Kanervo, Kekkilä.