Finland’s first educational activity book teaching preschoolers about recycling is out

UPM, Arla Finland and K Group have teamed up with Oppi&ilo to create Finland’s first educational activity book designed to teach Finland’s 60,000 preschoolers about recycling. The Kierrätyskaverit (“Recycling friends”) activity book aims to make recycling a fun, easy and inspiring part of their daily lives.

The 32-page book is distributed free of charge, containing a variety of creative tasks to inspire preschoolers to discover the secrets of recycling and the circular economy. The accompanying teacher’s material provides practical tips for the classroom. The material conforms to the guidelines of the national preschool curriculum and contains no marketing.

Helping kids learn through joy and inspiration, the activities and tasks in the book introduce various topics related to the circular economy, such as reuse, recycling, and the sustainable use of natural resources. The teacher’s material gives additional tips to support classroom work and deeper analysis of the content.

Preschool principals Martina Hamberg and Tiia Hongisto praise the activity book for how it combines creativity, visuality, playfulness and functional tasks in one package, inviting children to explore, participate and engage in problem-solving in their daily environment.

“The positive approach inspires both the teacher and the child to practice low-threshold environmentalism. Teachers can also use the material as a basis for larger projects and theme-based education,” said Hamberg.

The choices we make today will decide what kind of Earth future generations will inherit. “The earlier we pay attention to recycling and environmental awareness, the better the child realises the impact of his or her actions on the environment. This is how a sustainable lifestyle begins – the earlier, the better,” stated Hongisto.

Promoting the circular economy is a common, important goal for UPM, Arla Finland and K Group. The Recycling friends is the latest collaboration between UPM and Arla Finland, and now K Group has joined their work promoting the circular economy. Oppi&ilo was chosen as a partner based on their pedagogical expertise and good reputation as producers of high-quality, insightful products for children.

“When it comes to the big picture, recycling is the part of the circular economy that is most visible in people’s everyday lives. It is important to us that the theme is made familiar to everyone. We want to raise a generation for whom recycling is a fun, easy everyday thing to do,” said Kati Janhunen, Commercial Innovation Manager at Arla Finland.

Promoting the circular economy is a crucial part of climate change mitigation. Arla’s goal is to become a 100% carbon-neutral dairy, and in Finland the company has traced the carbon footprint of every farm that supplies their milk. UPM is committed to the UN’s Business Ambition for 1.5°C. The company strives to mitigate climate change and drive long-term value creation through climate-positive forestry, innovating novel products, and considerably reducing the company’s CO2 emissions and those of its supply chain. K Group has been ranked as the most sustainable grocery trade company in the world for its corporate responsibility efforts.

Preschool teachers can order the material online at: The printed activity book is available in Finnish. The PDF format of the book will be available in Swedish and English at the end of March. For sure this is a best practice for all the European Union.

Explore together: What kind of different packages can you find at home? What kind of recycling instructions are there on the labels? 
How should you sort your afternoon snack waste? Check the wastebin after you snack and sort the trash correctly.
Could you reduce your water consumption? Think together: How much water do you consume – and why? 
Head out for a trip into nature. What do you see there? Can you find something that does not belong there?

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