How to Support Sustainable Living in Tampere as an International
Written by Ruchira Liyanage
Master’s Student in Sustainable Architecture, Tampere University
Tampere, an attractive and vibrant city in southern Finland, left a positive impression on me as an international from Sri Lanka. Its lush forests, serene lakes, and eco-friendly transportation methods were just some of the highlights that caught my attention. With renovated historical buildings, reduced paper and cash usage, and mobile apps catering to different lifestyles, the city’s sustainable initiatives were equally noteworthy. It is important for us, as internationals, to contribute to maintaining the city’s natural beauty and promoting sustainability. There are various ways to support sustainable living and preserve the city’s charm.
Use of public transport and cycling
In Tampere, pedestrians and cyclists are given priority on the roads with separate lanes for them, making it easier and more pleasant for people to walk and cycle. If you are new to Tampere, you can easily check the route guide through Tampere.Finland mobile app. The city’s transportation system is well-developed, with public transport options like trams and buses run by NYSSE, the transport operator of the City of Tampere. For short-term visitors, there are also bike and electric scooter rental services available. To save money on transportation, locals and frequent visitors can opt for an NYSSE monthly subscription. Choosing public transportation over private cars is also a great way to contribute to sustainability efforts in the city.
Nature trails and leisure
Tampere is an ideal destination for nature lovers, offering a wide range of options for relaxation in nature. With the Tampere.Finland mobile application or a quick internet search, one can easily find numerous forests, campfire spots, and lakes located within walking distance. Saunas such as Suolijärvi, Rauhaniemi sauna, and Kaupinojan sauna provide additional opportunities for unwinding amidst beautiful beaches and nature trails. There are also designated areas for campfires, complete with free firewood and axes provided by the local government. During winter, one can enjoy various winter sports such as ice skating, cross-country skiing, and ice water dipping, with rental equipment available near Näsijärvi lake. By taking advantage of these outdoor activities, we can also support a sustainable lifestyle.
The energy crisis is a global problem, including in Finland. During winter, there can be power shortages due to high heating demands. Residents will be informed comprehensively about possible shortages. We can conserve energy by turning off unused electronics, reducing water usage, using room heaters efficiently, taking stairs instead of elevators, and wearing more layers. Additionally, energy-efficient light bulbs and thermostat adjustments can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy bills.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Don’t throw away your used plastic bottles and cans! In Tampere, you can bring them to kiosks located near most supermarkets like Lidl and K-Market, and earn money back. The amount you can earn is printed on the bottles. Tampere citizens are already practicing this good habit, and it’s a great way to earn money while helping the environment. Additionally, try to bring your own reusable bags for shopping and reuse polythene bags as much as possible. Separating waste and putting it in the correct bin is also very helpful for recycling. Choosing products with minimal packaging and bringing your own containers can also help reduce waste.
Second-hand shops are very popular in Tampere, and there’s no shame in buying used items. From clothing to household items, stores like UFF, I Care, and Radiokirppis offer cheaper prices. You can also find second-hand items on Facebook groups like Roskalava, Facebook Marketplace, and websites like tori.fi. By buying second-hand items, you can help minimize the production of new items and contribute to sustainable resource use.
Food waste is often overlooked, but the process from farm to plate is extensive. Many university canteens display daily food wastage statistics, so taking only what you can eat is important. The ResQ Club app is the perfect solution for finding delicious meals at discounted prices. By using the app, you can stay informed about restaurants that are closing soon and which dishes are available at reduced prices. Consider growing your own vegetables in pots if possible to reduce waste. As an international resident in Tampere, choose local and seasonal produce, reduce meat consumption, and support local farmers and businesses through farmer’s markets and food cooperatives.
Support Environmental Initiatives and Participate in community events
In Tampere, there are numerous environmental initiatives and organizations striving to promote sustainability. As an international resident, you can support these efforts by donating or volunteering your time. Tampere.Finland App is a great platform to engage with the community and contribute to sustainability through public surveys and polls. The App can be downloaded e.g. at tampere.fi website. It also offers useful information about famous tourist spots, nature trails, the latest news, booking facilities, events, offers, coupons, and environmental data such as the mobility carbon footprint calculator.
Communicate and make awareness
As an international resident in Tampere, it is important to spread awareness about sustainable practices to your fellow internationals. You have a responsibility to gradually integrate them with the sustainable practices in Tampere and teach them real-life hacks of sustainability. This will be a beneficial initiative for the future. Also, remember to be an honest nature lover who always considers the environmental and social impact of your activities.
First photo: Ruchira Liyanage
Other photos: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere