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Circular activities in Kuusamo

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

We interviewed 74-year-old Jouko from Kuusamo, which is in the Northern Ostrobothnia of Finland. We discussed circular economy and environmental friendliness as part of his daily life. Jouko and his spouse take care of the cleanliness of nature by collecting rubbish and cans. Thriftiness and recycling make everyday life environmentally friendly.

Kuusamo is known for its amazing nature. Photo: Timo Newton-Syms from Helsinki, Finland and Chalfont St Giles, Bucks, UK - Kumpuvaara, CC BY-SA 2.0,

How is the Circular Economy visible in your life?

I have recycled and reused a large amount of building materials. For example, an entire storehouse was moved from from my late mother's plot to our yard. The old windows left over from the window renovation she once had done were also utilised in our yard for the building of summer kitchen. The sheet metal panels left over from the roof renovation suitably protect the log stacks in our yard. Roofing cardboard was also reused in the vegetable garden as a weed cover. My spouse repairs all the broken clothes and parses socks. She also makes rag rugs of old fabrics. Together we collect returnable cans and rubbish from nature. Returning the cans will then give you a nice discount on your own purchases. We collect the clips of the cans for a friend who turns them into bags. I do winter fishing as a hobby and the gear I use is my dad’s old; they were made in pre-war era, and still work well. At the flea market you can sometimes find nice stuff; for example, I bought almost a new backpack, shoes, a hunting jacket, and a raincoat from a flea market. We recycle garbage and take metals and plastics to a recycling point. In the yard there is compost for food waste, which is then used as soil in the vegetable garden. My wife has an education of a resource producer, so we enjoy wild food. We collect nettles, dandelions, salt grass, pleated leaves and milk thistle, among other things. Under her lead, we also pick mushrooms and berries. My wife has also created bedspreads, tablecloths and curtains from left over fabric patches. My friend and I have a few commonly owned items, such as a trailer, clearing saw and a Norwegian kiln, which we own together. Now I’m already retired, but in the past, I went to work by bike. If the temperatures got really low, I could also walk to work. We also have this old pen extension that attaches to the pen when it is sharpened to a very small nod. It is a good example of how frugal we had to be after the wars and how much more valuable pens have been in the past.

How have you acquired skills for repair, for example?

In my generation's childhood, there was simply no money like today people have. We had to be frugal and repair goods ourselves. The skills were learned in the home mostly from parents and in everyday life, by doing. For example, my wife attended such a small school that they couldn't afford to hire a crafts teacher. Personally, for example, I learned how to patch a rubber tire in scouts, I remember it was a skill requirement at the time.

Littering is quite annoying; we have such a precious, neat and clean nature and still some throw trash in there.

What motivates you to take care of the nature?

At least cleanliness. We live near a school that had a caramel paper route to a nearby supermarket. Littering is quite annoying; we have such a precious, neat and clean nature and still some throw trash in there. It is a pity when people do not think about it. We then started collecting the trash. Different movements, such as rubbish a day, also motivate you to collect. Saving money also motivates. A discount on a bottle return is always a nice thing and something that can be fixed is obviously not thrown away. We try to make the most out of everything. For example, we have fetched pallets from the landfill, on which log stacks are piled up nicely.


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