“The biowaste container reflects the whole world,” says artist Jani Leinonen, the creator of a biowaste artwork composed of discarded food. The artwork was commissioned by Helsinki Region Environment Services Authority HSY to be posted onto HSY garbage trucks. The campaign arouses people to think about the impact of food waste on the climate – and our pocket books. The campaign urges us to love food and not to throw away edible food, and it urges us to sort our waste separating biowaste from other waste.
“The whole global world comes together in our biowaste containers,” Leinonen says. “There is pineapple from Costa Rica, coffee from Ethiopia, rice from Spain, and coriander from Thailand. Foodstuffs from bickering neighbours and from conflict zones mix peacefully in the Finnish biowaste container to produce new energy – Finnish rye bread and Swedish “knäckebröd” crisp bread, and Israeli oranges and Palestinian olives.”
Such edible food is thrown away in Finland each year in amounts that fill 7,800 garbage trucks.
One-third of household mixed waste is still biowaste
It is important to separate biowaste from other waste, as only by sorting can the energy component of biowaste be retrieved. Biowaste is used to make biogas, which is used to produce heat and electricity. Biowaste is also used to make compost, which is an ingredient of mulch for gardens and other green areas.
“It’s unfortunate that one-third of the content of mixed-waste bags from households is still biowaste,” says the HSY environmental expert Hanna Tukiainen.
The materials for Leinonen’s artwork were provided by the Loop restaurant, which uses waste food as ingredients. The restaurant procures its waste food from markets and producers. The waste food used in the artwork was inedible, and after the completion of the artwork, the materials continued their journey to HSY’s eco-industrial centre in Ämmänsuo, to be processed into biogas and mulch.