More Than the Degree

Exploring Finland's Recycling Culture and the Moving Season

If you're currently planning your exciting move to Finland to study at Aalto University, in this blog I want to share my personal experience with you regarding the Finland's culture of sustainable living.

Coming to Finland

When I first arrived in Finland, I was struck by the country's deep-rooted sustainability culture. It's more than just a trend here; it's a way of life. From renewable energy sources to efficient waste management systems, Finland prioritizes sustainability in every aspect. Aalto University shares this vision, incorporating sustainability into its curriculum and campus initiatives.

The Moving Season

One thing that amazed me about Finland is the moving tradition among students. As June rolls around, waves of students prepare to return home, leaving behind a treasure trove of personal and household items. It's like a massive recycling event! It’s a unique opportunity for finding affordable and useful second-hand items while reducing waste at the same time. From my own experience, I was fortunate to find some furniture with more than 50% cheaper to fill in some space in my apartment’s room. I also came across a high-quality monitor to improve my working efficiency, all for a fraction of its original cost. The more exciting part is when the seller is actually in the same student apartment as you. Just a few steps away and you can get the items you need :)

Not Just a Marketplace

What truly amazed me was witnessing the generosity of others. I came across someone who donated their sofa, bicycle, office chair, and mattress. It was heartwarming to see how these items found new homes, contributing to a more sustainable and resourceful student community. The spirit of giving and recycling truly thrives during the moving season, making it an extraordinary time to find hidden gems and support the circular economy.

How It Was Done

The recycling event is facilitated in multiple ways. For example in the campus area (Otaniemi), we use a Telegram group where individuals post their items for sale or donation, sharing photos and details to attract potential buyers or those in need. It's a lively and dynamic space, with constant conversations, negotiations, and expressions of interest. There are also others such as the Facebook marketplace, Tori, or the recycling center (Kierratyskeskus). I have also heard of one popular event the clothing swap, where individuals have the opportunity to exchange their own clothes with donated items. It's a fantastic way to refresh your wardrobe without spending money while also promoting reuse and reducing textile waste

Outside of Campus

One remarkable aspect of Finland's sustainable culture is the widespread availability of secondhand stores throughout the country. Regardless of the area you find yourself in, you're likely to stumble upon a variety of secondhand stores that cater to different tastes and budgets. Exploring these secondhand stores can be an adventure in itself. You never know what hidden gems you might stumble upon.

As a student at Aalto University, my journey to Finland has been about much more than just academics. It's been a transformational experience, where I've learned to live sustainably and embrace eco-friendly practices. As you embark on your own journey, I encourage you to join me in making sustainable choices and becoming part of Finland's remarkable sustainability culture.

Red bicycle outside of UFF second hand store window
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