Pirkka ESSI circular bags have been a successful step towards a circular economy

It has been a year since ESSI, the first Finnish carrier bag for a circular economy, was introduced in stores. Made from plastics recycled by households, Pirkka ESSI circular bags give shoppers an alternative to recycled plastic bags. K-Group actively promotes the recycling and reuse of plastics and seeks new ways to prevent plastics from ending up in waterways and elsewhere in the natural environment.

ESSI circular bags are manufactured by Amerplast in Tampere. The bags are made of over 90% recycled materials. Around half the material used is plastic packaging separately collected from households. ESSI bags encourage more effective collection and recycling of plastics, enabling reuse of discarded plastic packaging as raw material for new products. This is a good example of the circular economy in action.

K-Group actively promotes plastics recycling and reuse

Promoting sustainable use of natural resources and the transition to a circular economy is central to K-Group’s responsibility programme. In line with its plastics policy, K-Group promotes the recycling and reuse of plastics, and actively seeks new ways to prevent plastics from ending up in waterways and elsewhere in the natural environment.

”Grocery stores in particular are important to the market success of circular products. K-Group works to be actively involved in promoting the transition to a circular economy model”, says Timo Jäske, Sustainability Manager for K-Group’s grocery trade. ”K-Group is keen to explore and introduce new sustainable alternatives that customers could easily adopt. Pirkka ESSI circular bag is a great example of this”, says Jäske.

K-Group is committed to the European Union target of reducing the number of plastic bags used annually per person to 40 by 2025. K-food stores provide several alternatives to plastic bags: in addition to recycled plastic bags, there are reusable bags, cotton bags, jute bags and paper bags. Customer channels and in-store communications are used to raise awareness about the environmental impact of plastic waste.

Building a sustainable future through circular economy

In a circular economy, materials are kept in circulation for as long as possible so that they can be repeatedly used. Recycling and efficient use of materials are critical for a sustainable future. Used plastic packaging is a valuable resource that can be recycled into new products, cutting down on the environmental burden and the need for new raw materials.

ESSI carrier bags are an excellent example of the circular economy in action. They also demonstrate the kind of joint effort needed – from the industry and traders but also from Finns who separate and recycle their used plastic packaging and take home their groceries in ESSI bags”, says Børge Kvamme, CEO of Amerplast.

The raw material for ESSI circular bags, manufactured by Amerplast, comes from Fortum’s Circular Economy Village in Riihimäki, Finland. The plastic refinery takes in waste plastic, including separately collected household packaging waste, and sorts and processes the plastics into top-quality secondary raw materials. An estimated 70,000 tonnes of plastic is used annually for consumer packaging in Finland. Finnish Plastics Recycling Ltd, the national authorised extended producer responsibility organisation, handles the separate collection of consumer plastic packaging nationwide through Rinki eco take-back points, among others.

Read about Kesko’s plastics policy
Read more about how K-Group contributes to the circular economy
Read more about ESSI circular bags (site in Finnish)

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