The first Finnish park made nearly entirely of recycled materials piloted in Malminkartano

During the summer, Helsinki’s Circular Economy Cluster Program piloted Cubeco modules made from recycled raw materials in Malminkartano. This pilot project was a continuance to the concrete industry’s innovation challenge held last year, which aimed to find solutions for reusing demolition wool.

The mineral wool demolished from buildings adds 20,000 tonnes of material to landfills annually in Finland alone. Last year, Helsinki’s Circular Economy Cluster Program sought solutions for utilising demolition wool through an innovation challenge, in which four companies were rewarded for the concrete recipes and products they came up with.

The Cubeco elements of one of the winners of the innovation challenge, EcoUp, were piloted in Malminkartano, on the former Apollo school yard, over this summer. The modules have been designed for outdoor use and use demolition wool to replace some of the cement as the binding agent of the geopolymer concrete.

Piloting in an authentic urban environment

The summer pilot studied the suitability of the recycled raw material for outdoor use in different weather conditions and in the use of the residents. EcoUp also collected user feedback about the pilot during the summer. The Cubeco park has made its environment livelier by opening the school yard of Apollo for temporary use before the school building’s demolition project starts.

Implementing the pilot next to a school building ordered for demolition also demonstrates how construction materials from demolished buildings can be used as raw materials of new products instead of removing them from the cycle. This conserves natural resources and helps reduce emissions and waste related to manufacturing new products. In the future, existing buildings will be increasingly seen as ‘material banks’ with materials that can be reused or recycled.

Close-up photo of Cubeco modules

The EcoUp pilot park comprises a hundred Cubeco elements that create an inviting outdoor area for rest and recreation. The manufacturing process of one element uses 300 litres of recycled, cleaned demolition wool, reducing the amount of landfill waste and demand for virgin raw materials. The carbon footprint of the elements is up to 80% smaller compared to similar concrete structures. The modular elements are a versatile solution for building various green and recreational areas. The Cubeco park was opened to the public on the former Apollo school’s yard (Arentipolku 1, 00410 Helsinki) on 30 June.

The Helsinki Circular Economy Cluster implemented the summer pilot projects in cooperation with the Helsinki Innovation Districts project, which brings smart city development and pilot activities to the City of Helsinki’s urban renewal areas.

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  • Mette Hiltunen

  • Senior Advisor
    Circular Economy Cluster Program
    City of Helsinki
    Business Helsinki, Innovation services