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Education with a touch of humour: Local thrash activist Eino

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

We interviewed Eino, father of three from Helsinki about sustainable everyday life and roskapäivä (trash day) project. Eino collects trash from nature and casually educates people about the problem of littering. He shares trash photos and information on Instagram under the nickname @roskapäivä.

'Catch' after just 15 minutes of collecting

How did you get into environmental issues?

I have always spent a lot of time in nature and my dad often took me and my siblings on nature excursions. From childhood, the relationship with nature has probably started to develop and also a certain appreciation for nature. Some years ago, we lived near Helsinki Central Park and I would often walk the dog there. It is such a gorgeous park in the middle of the city and I started to pay attention to how much rubbish there was. For a few days, I documented and photographed the garbage and made a post on Facebook about it, astonished by the amount of garbage. Quite soon I also set up the Instagram account to share more pictures. I like to utilise a humorous approach and shoot, for example, right from the level of the thrash. I received a lot of positive feedback about the account, which encouraged me to continue. As far as I know, it was the first Finnish thrash site. I try to keep my account relaxed and I hope it appeals especially to young people. I also don’t want to blame people, even more to show by my own example what good you can do for nature. Around the same time the IPCC report raised concerns about climate change and the living conditions of future generations, especially after I had recently become a father. Collecting thrash was an easy way to start caring for the environment. Now I am a self-taught thrash researcher, as I have spent countless hours learning about the issue. I’ve also developed various campaigns and released a few songs to raise awareness about littering.

We should be able to value more all the good we already have; wonderful nature and a good living environment.

Does your family engage in other sustainable practices as well?

I follow many other sustainability and environmental influencers on Instagram, and that has provided a wealth of information and ideas for my daily life. Our family lives in compact apartment although we have three children and a dog and sometimes we are a bit cramped. Electricity is ecologically produced. We don’t have a car, although many people thought it would be somehow mandatory with the kids. I use bicycle for commuting and we borrow a car if needed. I used to travel more earlier in my life, but with the climate crisis, my attitude towards it has changed. I don’t think that leisure flights are no longer an option, but can be done less frequently, for example every five years or so. Our clothes are mainly second hand and my spouse often goes hunting clothes from flea markets. We have an amazing close knit neighborhood community where goods are borrowed and recycled. Regarding diet, I follow planetary diet. I don’t want to completely refuse certain foods and that kind of absoluteness doesn’t suit me. However, I have managed to reduce meat eating a lot. We use natural cosmetics at home. One day I started to wonder how come we have so many different jars and tubes in the bathroom. We then decided to use up the products and replace them with soap bars and organic alternatives. I also make my own deodorant so I know exactly what it contains. In addition to these, I also try to fix everything around the house that I can. Clothing waste we utilise for cleaning.

What motivates you?

Well, it really motivates when you see in how poor a state our planet is. Of course, I would also like the best possible living conditions for my children. It’s fun to see how quickly children adopt the same values and our very young child already knows where specific thrash is sorted. Living according to my values is important and I want to do good to others as well. We should be able to value more all the good we already have: wonderful nature and a good living environment. It seems that people often think that living ecologically is somehow difficult or unfortunate, even though it can go the other way around. Taking action for the benefit of the planet gives a good feeling and in general, all that is good for the environment is also good for health. Giving up the car has brought me 130 km of bicycling per week and switching from meat to vegetarian food is also better for health.

Check out the music video 'trash researcher':

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