Recycling and higher material efficiency

In accordance with its environmental promises, VR Group aims to reduce the amount of waste ending up at landfills.

The aim is that such waste would account less than 15 per cent of all waste (excl. scrapping) by the year 2020. The target was achieved well in advance: In 2014 only 11 per cent (1,818 tonnes) of all waste generated by VR Group ended up at landfills.

VR Group generated 31,527 tonnes of waste during the review period. This total also includes scrapping. A total of 79 per cent of all waste was recycled. Most of the recycled waste was scrap steel from scrapped freight wagons and passenger cars.

The basic objective is to prevent generating waste. The aim is to sort and recover all waste in an efficient manner.

Waste sorting in restaurant cars

Better waste sorting is one aspect of environmental consideration in the new DuettoPlus double-deck restaurant cars. Waste recycling can be done in the kitchen and in the customer area. There are waste receptables for mixed waste, biowaste and energy waste. After a pilot stage, separate sorting of biowaste in the customer areas and kitchens of the old restaurant cars was started in early 2014.

Waste sorting in properties and in rolling stock maintenance

In early 2014, new recycling containers with separate compartments for paper wraps, newspapers and magazines were introduced at the Helsinki Central Railway Station. Mixed waste and paper waste are the two most common types of waste accumulating in the station area. The same symbols are used in the recycling containers at the station and in the restaurant cars, which makes sorting easier.

The lessees at the Helsinki Central Railway Station are encouraged to recycle their waste more efficiently. The recycling points have containers for small metal items, glass, recyclable paper, cardboard, energy waste, biowaste and mixed waste.

The amount of waste ending up at landfills has also declined at depots and workshops. Mixed waste is increasingly treated as energy waste and mixed waste containers have been replaced with energy waste containers wherever possible. Personnel have been provided with information and training on the matter and at the Helsinki depot, information boards at recycling points show how waste is treated and how it affects our lives. Read more about waste management at the Helsinki depot.

Higher material efficiency

A good example of material efficiency is the machine control developed by VR Track, which is used in track construction and maintenance. In machine control, an instrument is installed in a construction machine that either helps the operator to work in a more precise manner or allows automatic operation of the machine.

The development work covers the entire process: measurements, design, construction and maintenance. The 3D models produced by the company's planning staff are used at work sites for controlling construction machines.

The benefits of machine control include material savings, lower fuel consumption and emissions, and more efficient and precise work processes. The savings can be substantial, compared with work without machine control.