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Thursday's papers: Birth rate hope, good jobs and Finland's war on plastic

Finland's low birthrate could recover, a think tank wants more "quality" jobs and plastic's second life.

Kymenlaakson jätteen asiakaspalvelupäällikkö Virpi Leppälä
Consumers shouldn't be too worried about recycling incorrectly, according to Fortum. Image: Pyry Sarkiola / Yle

There's hope yet for Finland's plummeting birth rate, reports Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet. The Finnish Centre for Pensions has published a study suggesting that Finland’s fertility rate could begin to rise again if the current downward trend is due to women postponing having children, reports Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet.

Jaakko Kiander, who heads research and planning at the pensions agency, said an uptick in births would help finance earnings-related pensions.

"As the birth rates declines, the share of old people in the population grows," the report’s authors said in a statement, noting that in 2018, the total fertility rate was 25 percent lower than at the beginning of the decade.

"Finland needs more private sector jobs"

A think-tank has deeply criticised PM Sanna Marin's administration for not doing enough to reach the government's 75-percent employment goal, according to business daily Kauppalehti.

Finland's Economic Policy Council said Marin should focus more on the quality of jobs being created. The group said increasing part-time work or public sector jobs would not be enough to balance public finances.

"If we want to effectively expand the tax base, new jobs should be full-time, in the private sector and in high-growth industries," Jouko Vilmunen, who heads the council, said.

What remains

Trucks from across Finland transport plastic waste--a byproduct of the packaging industry--to the country’s only plastics recycling facility run by Fortum in Riihimäki, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

HS asked if it really makes sense to haul empty ketchup bottles hundreds of kilometres. 'Yes,' according to Fortum, which said the carbon footprint of moving plastic is minimal as opposed to allowing it to degrade in the natural environment

"We tell consumers that the rule of thumb is, 'if the packaging is plastic, toss it in the plastic recycling bin. It’s not really possible to make any major mistakes,'" Fortum spokesperson Inka Leisio told HS.

Last year, the plant recycled 18,000 tons of plastic waste. Each year, residents in Finland produce an average 15 kilos of plastic waste of which three kilos are recycled--just a third of what neighbouring Sweden manages to repurpose.

At the Riihimäki plant, plastic packaging passes through several processing stages ending in plastic pellets that Fortum sells to manufacturers.

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