City deems anti-litter project unnecessary

City Council claims Copenhagen does not have a problem with takeaway cup litter

After removing a set of specially designed tubes used to collect disposable paper cups last month, the City Council has deemed the project unnecessary, saying that Copenhagen does not have a problem with litter from paper cups.

“The cleaning department’s evaluation is finally here, stating that the tubes on the bridge were used frequently, but according to the cleaning people, we don’t have a cup litter problem in Copenhagen,” organiser Sandra Høj wrote on the project’s Facebook page.

Referred to as the ‘test tubes,’ the project consisted of a set of cylindrical bins that Høj, a Copenhagen resident and litter vigilante, designed in hopes of cutting down on litter around Dronning Louise’s Bridge. The tubes were implemented for a trial period from May 2012 through September, and were eventually removed by the city last month.

According to the evaluation, Høj explained, the City Council claimed that the tubes were time-consuming, difficult to empty, and not helpful on the bridge.

According to Høj, the city dismissed the project before the trial period even began(Photo: Sandra Høj)“Since we don’t have a cup litter problem in the urban setting, [the City Council said] they would suggest this idea for the park people at Park & Natur,” Høj wrote. “If they were to agree to a test around the lakes, the cleaning department would be open to include some rubbish cans on Dronning Louise’s Bridge.”

Høj, however, was convinced that the City Council had already dismissed the project before it began.

“Only two weeks into the test, I was forwarded a mail from someone in the chain of command, stating that the tubes were ugly, fragile and that they would not last long,” she told The Copenhagen Post. “He had simply made up his mind about them before they had even seen any action. Of course the tubes proved him wrong, outlasting the scheduled end date and even surviving winter. And the ones they missed are still around – looking cool, working fine, not vandalised and not falling apart.”

“They say they asked the 'snappers' [individual trash collectors who use handheld grabbers], who know the cup litter situation better than anyone, but I honestly don’t believe that,” Høj went on. “Anyone with a pair of working eyes can tell that we have a cup litter problem, and that the tubes worked”

Will the tubes ever help clean up the city again? Despite believing in the validity of the project, Høj isn’t so sure.

“It won’t happen until we officially get that cup litter problem,” Høj said. “You know, the one we don’t have yet."