Finland - a global forerunner in circular economy

A person returning a bottle to the bottle return machine.

Circular economy is much more than just recycling. It includes new business models, such as furniture as a service, and new products, like bioplastic. It involves new ways to consider an item’s life cycle, like building a product that is long-lasting and repairable.

Finland has a history of developing circular solutions, even before the phrase “circular economy” was common. On the consumer side, a deposit scheme helped push the recycling of beverage containers to near 100%. On the industrial side, companies strove to increase efficiency to succeed in global competition.

The lack of fossil fuel deposits in Finland has also pushed society towards circular solutions, including developing renewable energy production and utilising waste streams as sources of energy.

Technician soldering components to a PCB.
Photo: Emilia Kangasluoma/Team Finland

Both public and private venture capitalists fund good ideas, and foreign investors also look to Finland for inspiring circular startups. Finland’s practical solutions are rapidly expanding. The circular economy is expected to add about 3 billion euros to Finland’s national economy in added value potential by 2030, according to The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

Within two years Finland had more circular economy courses in higher education than anywhere in the world. Over 70,000 Finns studied the circular economy in 2019.

Finland has technical know-how in circular solutions and is one of the world leaders in being awarded relevant patents.

All levels of Finnish society, from startups to government ministries, are working with international partners to test, develop and deploy circular solutions. We invite everyone to join us to develop solutions that lead to a more sustainable future.


The circular economy is expected to add about 3 billion euros to Finland’s national economy in added value potential by 2030, according to Sitra.

Finland is ranked 14th in the world for the number of patents issued related to recycling and secondary raw materials, one of the key circular economy indicators tracked by the EU.

The Finnish people are conscientious about minimising waste. Eurostat says Finns waste 7.4% of their domestic material consumption, excluding major mineral waste. The EU average is 12.8%.

Finland recycles 49.2% of its electronic waste, compared to an EU average of 34.8%, according to Eurostat.

Finland – a global forerunner in circular economy

Nature and sustainable development

Finland excels at international thought leadership when it comes to circularity. Many practical circular economy solutions have also been developed in Finland, making the country a global forerunner in circularity.

This presentation offers some basic information on Finnish circular economy. The presentation is available in English and in Spanish.

This presentation is made with the Finlandica font. You can easily download the font here. This will help you to view the presentation in its intended glory.


Edited: 12.4.2022