Green Pesulat Oy, provider of reusable Greencup cups, relocates to the Lahti region
Beverage sales play a key role in many public events. The business idea of the company Green Pesulat Oy, founded by Nuutti Lintu and Joar Löf, is to rent out and wash cups, and manufacture branded and unique Greencups for events.
The business idea originated in France, which Nuutti Lintu first visited on an exchange and where he is currently studying. After a thorough search, Green Pesulat Oy found existing facilities suitable for its operations in a former bakery property located in Hartola, north of Lahti. The property currently also houses other business related to the food industry.
“The cups replace disposable cups and glassware. I discovered the cups on my visit to the Alps. While there, I found myself rolling a reusable cup in my hand and wondering why no one was making a business out of it in Finland. Washable plastic cups and beer mugs printed with an event’s brand are used at almost all major events in Central Europe. France has largely abandoned the use of disposable cups that cause litter. Reusable cups are also used in restaurants and the outdoor seating areas of restaurants and bars in particular,” Nuutti Lintu says.
The company delivers plastic cups to its clients at festival, concert and sports event venues. The company then retrieves the rental cups after the event and washes them in Hartola. During multi-day events, the company delivers plastic cups and wine glasses to the venue and picks them up for washing at regular intervals.
Green Pesula’s environmental values are a good fit for the Lahti region
Greencup and Green Pesula are a perfect fit for Lahti – the European Green Capital 2021 – and the surrounding region because the reusable Greencup cup is an environmentally friendly, affordable and safe product. When a customer refills a cup – in other words drinks more than one drink from the same cup – the cup becomes cheaper for the buyer than a disposable cup.
“Reusable cups also do not cause litter or dangerous situations, unlike breakable glasses that can cause shards of glass to scatter all across the floor,” says Lintu, listing the product’s advantages.
The service is suitable for every event from concerts to ice hockey matches
In 2018, Nuutti Lintu talked to his childhood friend Joar Löf (24) about washable and recyclable plastic cups. The business took off quickly, and event-goers were already drinking from Greencup cups in 2019 at events such as the football club FC Inter’s matches in Turku, the farewell concert of the Finnish rap artist Cheek, and football matches of the sports club Tampereen Ilves. At the time, the company’s clients washed the cups themselves.
“We made it pretty far just by calling around and selling the cups to our friends and acquaintances who work in family businesses. But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and events came to an abrupt stop,” Nuutti Lintu says.
“An EU legal act recommending that traditional disposable plastic cups be replaced by more sustainable products came into force during the pandemic. It favours us and our products, so we decided to take the next step and invest in our own washing facility. We issued shares and gathered capital from investors. That took roughly six months. Once we had our funding, Joar visited our principal in Belgium in order to familiarise himself with the cup washing line and spend a week washing cups. This also provided us with valuable information on how to run a washing business,” Lintu continues.
Once the two young entrepreneurs had their capital, they set out to find a suitable property for the washing line. After visiting more than two hundred properties in person, Green Pesulat finally found a property that met its needs in Hartola, rented by the real estate company Kiinteistö Oy Kustaantie.
“We wanted facilities that we would not need to renovate. The facilities had to feature floor drains, a functional vapour barrier and efficient ventilation. There also had to be a large enough yard for trucks to turn around and sufficient storage space, as we wash and store tens of thousands of cups per day at best,” lists Joar Löf, who is in charge of the washing facility’s practical operations.
The cups are delivered directly from France to Finland and to Hartola in the Lahti region
Greencup’s cups are made in France. Their manufacturer, the French company Re-Uz, is a market leader in the manufacturing of food packaging.
Joar Löf manages Green Pesulat’s sales, marketing and washing facility operations from Helsinki and visits the washing facility in Hartola on a weekly basis. Lintu, who is proficient in French, handles the company’s connections in France. He is currently finishing up his economics studies in Paris.
Lintu and Löf say that everyone does everything in the small company. Both of the two young entrepreneurs know how to machine wash cups, but they have already hired three employees for the washing facility in Hartola. Including salespersons, the company currently has roughly ten employees. Green Pesulat partners with Kuljetuspalvelu Fågel for transport services.
“Last summer, our products were used at more than 20 festivals and events, such as a stadium concert by the super popular Finnish pop artist Antti Tuisku. Although summer is our busiest season, there are public events of different types throughout the year. Our products have garnered interest from parties such as ice hockey clubs, so we have good conditions for year-round operations,” Löf says.
Potential for growth in Finland
The two young entrepreneurs have high growth targets. Joar Löf says that they are already planning to open a second washing facility in Southern Finland.
“Ideally, we would partner with a company such as a brewing company for our premises and products,” Joar Löf envisions.
Nuutti Lintu says that major events held in Central Europe require up to 600,000 reusable cups at best.
“There are also major events in Finland that reach hundreds of thousands of cups. We are currently negotiating agreements that will multiply our cup sales and washing volumes if they go ahead. This growth will be reflected not only in our turnover but also in the number of employees. We are currently recruiting salespersons around Finland.”
Joar Löf thanks the municipality of Hartola and Lahti Region Development LADEC for providing the company with advice and support.
“We talked with Sari Kesäniemi and Jani Backman from LADEC about potential clients operating in the region as well as topics such as opportunities for support funding and recruitment needs. LADEC has taken an active role in assisting us. We’ve received the support and advice that we’ve needed.”
Facts about Lahti
- European Green Capital 2021
- centre of an economic area with more than 200,000 residents, and a city with a population of 120,000
- roughly an hour away from the centre of Helsinki, Helsinki Airport and international ports
- the most diverse industrial structure among Finland’s major cities
- key industries:
- circular economy and green technologies
- food and beverage
- manufacturing industry
- logistics and trade
- sport and welltech
- product and service design