Unique Finnish innovation Ekokamu – a completely new way to recycle biowaste

Ekokamu Oy is a start-up company established in 2017 that is developing biowaste containers based on vacuum technology. The containers will be initially produced for domestic use and, eventually, also for professional applications.

Ekokamu was founded by Annukka Pakarinen, MSc (tech.), PhD, who developed the concept, and Elina Voutilanen, MSc. The Ekokamu’s operating mechanism, based on vacuum technology, was invented by Annukka Pakarinen. The invention itself was born long before Ekokamu Oy was established, when Pakarinen, a mother of four children living in a single-family house, started to think about ways of making it easier to recycle biowaste. Pakarinen has a Master’s degree in chemistry and a Doctorate in agricultural biotechnology. Her interest in utilising the various organic side streams created in the food chain arises from a combination of strong professional expertise and a desire to solve the problems she encounters in her own everyday life, and this has resulted in the method used in the Ekokamu biowaste containers which makes possible the almost odour-free handling of biowaste without any extra moisture.

The commercialisation of the product began in the summer of 2017, when Elina Voutilainen, the other founder of the company, joined the project. Voutilainen has a strong background in product development and project management in large organisations, first with the Finnish Defence Forces and later with the KONE Corporation. For the last few years, she has run her own consulting company that offering services related to project management and the commercialisation of new products for technology companies.

As a product, the Ekokamu biowaste container is still in its infancy, but its operating method is based on extensive research and testing. The vacuum method used by Ekokamu enables a completely new way of handling household biowaste. The product development is continuing, and the concept is now being developed intensively.

In addition to Pakarinen and Voutilainen, Ekokamu Oy’s partners include Riikka Krenn, who is responsible for marketing, Ville Ansaharju, who is in charge of product development and production chain management, and Juha-Matti Saario, who is responsible for market research and business development.

Ekokamu’s product development partner is the Jalaka Oy design company from Lahti, which has collaborated with Ekokamu to create the first prototypes as well as the visual appearance of the product.

Right now, Ekokamu Oy is building the production and distribution chain for the new product and is looking to reinforce its financing. The opportunities on the international market have been, and are still being, mapped thoroughly. We expect the actual production to start during 2019. Soon, the first Ekokamu containers will find their way into people’s homes. Ekokamu has gained a lot of national and international attention, and the company has received funding from Keksijäsäätiö, the city of Hämeenlinna and from EU’s Climate KIC Accelerator Programme. In 2018, Ekokamu took part in Kasvu Open, a Finnish start up growth programme, where the company was selected to be one of the most promising start up companies in Finland.

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