What the world can learn from Finland’s recycling revolution

Famous for flea markets and home of the world’s cleanest air, Finland has always been a nation of recyclers. Now, as concerns rise over the environmental effects of fast fashion, this small Nordic country is leading the world in saving the planet one bargain at a time.

From trash to treasure

Flea markets originated in 18th century France, and are named after the small, pesky insects that nestled amongst the old clothes and blankets that were on sale.
Things have become more sophisticated since then, and now, 19 percent of Finland’s textiles are sold second-hand, either locally or abroad. For Finns, visiting their local kirpputori (flea market) is a much-loved summer pastime where residents sell their used clothes and other trinkets to a new home. This charming Finnish tradition is making a massive difference to the environment, as buying just a single pair of second-hand jeans saves the use of a whopping 37000 litres of clean water.

From rags to riches

The Finns are improving their recycling zeal with each passing year. Following a 2016 government ban on dumping textiles into landfills, nearly 60 percent of Finland’s waste was burned and used to power district heating systems. And that was just the start.

Today, cutting-edge cellulose dissolution techniques are helping Finns take recycling to a new level. This scientific breakthrough means the smallest, most worn out and previously unusable cotton fibres can now be turned into brand new fabrics, meaning clothes can now be recycled an infinite amount of times.

Inspiring the world to recycle

As the world becomes more aware of the environmental consequences of fast fashion, many countries feel inspired by Finland’s attempt to create a cleaner, brighter world. While there is still more work to be done, it’s clear that current recycling habits are changing the world for the better. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Emmy.com, an online store that specialises in pre-used apparel to help others enjoy our products for years to come.

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