Skill­ful and Efficient Recycling

Caraca­ra Collective’s deve­lop­ment inno­va­tions in was­te mana­ge­ment and uti­liza­tion of was­te as con­struc­tion mate­rial at a fes­ti­val

Caraca­ra Col­lec­ti­ve desig­ned inno­va­ti­ve was­te sepa­ra­tion points at the Sols­tice Fes­ti­val and reproces­sed was­te as regio­nal art for example. In 2023, the was­te mana­ge­ment took an even lar­ger step towards an envi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly futu­re.

Inno­va­tion Trial

The Sols­tice Fes­ti­val sought an efficient way for was­te sepa­ra­tion and recycling. In 2022, the expe­ri­men­tal sus­tai­nable solu­tion design stu­dio Caraca­ra Col­lec­ti­ve desig­ned sus­tai­nable and easy to use was­te sepa­ra­tion points for the fes­ti­val that ran­dom­ly awar­ded users with drink tokens. The sty­lish, par­tici­pa­to­ry was­te sepa­ra­tion points were enti­re­ly con­struc­ted with recycled mate­rial in coo­pe­ra­tion with Kuusamo’s Was­te Trans­fer Sta­tion among other ope­ra­tors.

On top of the was­te bins, the­re were three par­tici­pa­to­ry asht­rays at the fes­ti­val that atten­dees could use to vote for their favo­ri­te music gen­re by put­ting their ciga­ret­te butt into the cor­res­pon­ding com­part­ment. Befo­re the fes­ti­val, about 500 recycled film roll tubs (about 3 kg of plas­tic) were col­lec­ted from Helsinki’s pho­to­grap­hy sto­res that were distri­bu­ted to the fes­ti­val atten­dees to be used as por­table asht­rays.

In the fol­low-up trial in 2023, the goal was to deve­lop the festival’s was­te mana­ge­ment compre­hen­si­ve­ly towards the imple­men­ta­tion of the circu­lar eco­no­my plan. The recycling plans were exten­ded to span over the was­te caused by fes­ti­val con­struc­tion as well as res­tau­rant and ser­ving areas’ was­te sepa­ra­tion and recycling. On top of this, the trial focused on the uti­liza­tion of bioplas­tic was­te with the use of plas­tic ext­rusion.


All was­te col­lec­ted in was­te bins during the 2022 fes­ti­val was weig­hed. 59 kg of was­te was col­lec­ted and the lar­gest por­tion (54,7 %) ended up as mixed was­te. Even though many atten­dees did not recycle at all, the recycling bins wor­ked well: 80 % of their con­tents had been recycled cor­rect­ly. The tokens also moti­va­ted people to sepa­ra­te was­te even though they caused unneces­sa­ry use of the was­te bins in hope of recei­ving a token. The asht­rays also wor­ked qui­te well but the tes­ter admit­ted that their place­ment requi­res deve­lop­ment. A total of 635 kg of vir­gin raw mate­rial was saved with the sepa­ra­tion points built out of recycled mate­rial.

For bin­ding orga­nic was­te such as paper, saw dust and ber­ry skins, Caraca­ra Col­lec­ti­ve deve­lo­ped a natu­ral glue. The mate­rials can be used to crea­te tem­po­ra­ry fes­ti­val solu­tions that can be decom­po­sed into soil or can be reproces­sed into new mate­rials after the fes­ti­val.

A new plas­tic ext­rusion device was deve­lo­ped for the uti­liza­tion of plas­tic that melts and molds plas­tic and bioplas­tic into new pro­ducts. Dif­fe­rent samples were pro­duced out of bioplas­tic col­lec­ted from the fes­ti­val and from plas­tic was­te col­lec­ted from other ope­ra­tors. At the same time, it was stu­died how natu­ral pig­ments, such as ber­ry was­te, can be mixed with mate­rials to crea­te even more impres­si­ve recycled pro­ducts.

Three was­te sepa­ra­tion points were con­struc­ted in the fes­ti­val area in order to recycle the was­te emer­ging due to fes­ti­val buil­ding and the was­te was recycled efficient­ly because almost all fes­ti­val struc­tu­res, apart from the art pro­gram­me, were re-used from last year and the con­struc­tion wor­kers were brie­fed about recycling. The sepa­ra­tion points of the atten­dees were re-used from last year and a fifth com­part­ment for cans and glass bott­les was added to them. The par­tici­pa­to­ry token mec­ha­nisms were remo­ved from the points because though they were fun and par­tici­pa­to­ry, they did not advance recycling efficiency. Also, the laser-cut woo­den signs at sepa­ra­tion points encou­ra­ged recycling and last year’s film roll tub asht­rays were re-used by the fes­ti­val atten­dees.

For the final was­te sepa­ra­tion Caraca­ra Col­lec­ti­ve pro­duced a was­te sepa­ra­tion point whe­re all was­te bag con­tents were sepa­ra­ted into the cor­rect com­part­ments: plas­tic, paper, card­board, metal, depo­sit, biowas­te, dan­ge­rous was­te and impu­re wood was­te. Wet and food-stai­ned was­te were recycled as mixed was­te. The volu­me of fes­ti­val was­te was mea­su­red to help futu­re was­te mana­ge­ment plans. Bioplas­tic mugs and bagas­se food con­tai­ners were sepa­ra­te­ly col­lec­ted for pre­ser­va­tion.

With the col­lec­ted amount of plas­tic was­te, one could pro­duce approxi­ma­te­ly 150–280 vinyl records or 160–380 T‑shirts. A record pres­sing com­pa­ny in Hel­sin­ki, Puris­ta­mo, expres­sed inte­rest in pos­sible coo­pe­ra­tion in pro­ducing vinyl records from the bioplas­tic. The bagas­se pro­duced for the fes­ti­val can be, for example, re-proces­sed by boi­ling and grin­ding into a mol­dable mass or can be uti­lized as sub­stra­te for myce­lium or edible mush­rooms. All other was­te was deli­ve­red to Las­si­la & Tika­no­ja who will process it into, for example, bio­gas for heat and elect­rici­ty pro­duc­tion as well as trans­port fuel, new plas­tic, new card­board, par­ticle boards and new metal pro­ducts.

In 2023, Caraca­ra Col­lec­ti­ve wan­ted to crea­te an artwork out of bioplas­tic as an example of re-uti­liza­tion of fes­ti­val was­te. The samples crea­ted with last year’s plas­tic ext­rusion device were too fra­gi­le and the process would have requi­red too much ener­gy and time. With the new pro­duc­tion met­hod, it was pos­sible to crea­te pla­tes of hig­her qua­li­ty and color effects quic­ker. The final concept con­sis­ted of four squa­re modu­les whe­re bioplas­tic sheets were attac­hed to a woo­den fra­me. The festival’s tra­di­tio­nal Mid­sum­mer pole was deco­ra­ted with them. The coo­pe­ra­tion with Kuusamo’s Was­te Trans­fer Sta­tion that begun in 2022 con­ti­nued in 2023 when the cho­sen crea­tor of the main artwork of the Sols­tice Fes­ti­val, Anas­ta­sia Svi­ri­den­ko, col­lec­ted all mate­rials for her art from the Was­te Trans­fer Sta­tion.

Alto­get­her in 2023, the trial succee­ded in deve­lo­ping a more efficient was­te mana­ge­ment sys­tem all the way from was­te col­lec­tion to was­te sepa­ra­tion and proces­sing. The more tho­rough inter­nal orga­niza­tion and com­mu­nica­tion com­pa­red to last year hel­ped with recycling of con­struc­tion was­te as well.

Thanks to the care­ful was­te sepa­ra­tion, over 80 % of the fes­ti­val was­te ended up recycled or re-used. During the trial, Caraca­ra Col­lec­ti­ve also mana­ged to dri­ve their mate­rial trials forward and build up their mate­rial bank which makes the crea­tion of even more impres­si­ve recycling artworks pos­sible next year.