Copenhageners to recycle bio-waste

The question remains whether it’ll be obligatory or not

Copenhageners might have to begin sorting out their bio-waste if the Danish capital is to achieve its objectives for recycling and waste management.

In January this year, the technical and environmental committee of the Copenhagen Municipality agreed that by 2018 households in the capital will have to recycle 45 percent of their rubbish for the amount of incinerated waste produced by the city to drop by 20 percent.

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Household recycling
According to an expert analysis based on experiences from Denmark and abroad, these goals can be achieved by implementing one of two possible solutions.

Either all households will be obligated to sort out and recycle their biodegradable waste, or the municipality will invest into an innovative solution that would convert bio-waste from some households into bio-gas, while it would be obligatory for other households to recycle their rubbish.

The technical and environmental committee will now decide which model to employ, taking into consideration that buying the innovative treatment plant would cost around 200 million kroner to build and operate.

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No one should be forced
Socialdemokraterne party supports the latter option but is against coercing people to recycle.

“In 2014 a majority of the committee decided that citizens should not be forced to separate their bio-waste and we want to abide by this even if it means we won’t reach our goals for waste management,” Jacob Haugaard from Socialdemokraterne, told Ingeniøren.

However, Morten Kabell, the deputy mayor for technical and environmental issues, contends that the more rubbish separation, the better.

“There are several methods to reach our targets and as a starting point we don’t want to push anyone to recycle, but we need to see how far we can get with volunteerism,” Kabell noted.

If the innovative scenario is adopted, then residents in the following districts: Bispebjerg, Husum, Vanløse, Valby, outer Nørrebro, outer Østerbro, outer Vesterbro, Sydhavn and Amager would have to sort out their own bio-waste, while rubbish from households in the city centre, Amagerbro, inner Vesterbro, inner Nørrebro and inner Østerbro would be collected and converted into bio gas at the treatment plant.

Plastic and metal leftovers would be then handled as common rubbish.