Circwaste: helping reduce waste through the circular economy

Elizabeth Ernst delves into circular economy in Finland


REYKJAVIK, September 27 – It is important to tackle large problems such as climate change through various angles, to take a multi-disciplinary that breaks it down to concrete issues that need to be addressed. One often overlooked issue is that of waste. When not properly addressed, objects like plastic, glass or more generally domestic or toxic materials end up in the environment for a very long time. Traditionally, the economy has operated linearly which has led to increasing, almost unmanageable amounts of waste.


Circular Economy improves on the traditional system as the Ellen Macarthur Foundation puts it, by “Designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems”. Circwaste is a seven-year LIFE IP project made up of 20 partners, 10 funding contributors, and is coordinated by the Finnish Environmental Institute. Circwaste's objective is to contribute to Finland's national waste management plan by “promoting efficient use of material flows.”

A second year Iceland School of Energy (ISE) master's student, Elizabeth Ernst has moved to Finland to work with the Circwaste project. She has a background in social sciences and is now a candidate for a M.Sc in Sustainable Energy Science and has been featured in articles published by Circwaste.

Elizabeth first started thinking about the impact of human activity on the environment when she transitioned to a plant-based, vegan lifestyle and realized the difference diet made in her personal carbon footprint. From there she gained a first-hand perspective on the magnitude of waste problem when she worked at Hringrás , a metal processing center that separates and manages metal waste.

This led Elizabeth to Lappeenranta, Finland where she is working on a life-cycle assessment for a waste wood and plastic composite manufactured at the Wimao Pilot Factory in South Karelia. To learn more, see the following link.

Congratulations, Elizabeth keep up the great work!



About Iceland School of Energy

By bringing together the best from industry and academia, Iceland School of Energy provides a unique, and comprehensive training for its students. A wide range of courses taught by the very best in their field open a broad spectrum of possibilities for students and allow for individual study designs. Focus is put on close collaboration with industry experts while maintaining high academic quality of the work.

Full-time graduate studies

Short programmes and professional development