‘More recycling, less rubbish’: minister wants Denmark to cut down on trash

Households in Denmark should ready themselves to sort and recycle their waste more than they do today.

'More recycling, less rubbish': minister wants Denmark to cut down on trash
A Danish handout outlining sorting of household waste. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix

New Minister for the Environment Lea Wermelin says that Denmark can improve its waste management relative to current practices in the country.

“The clear message to all Danes is that we are going to intensify our green ambitions regarding trash,” Wermelin said.

The average household in Denmark produced 600 kilograms of waste in 2016.

Almost half of that rubbish – 48 percent – was sorted for recycling.

But that leaves plenty of room for improvement, according to Wermelin.

“Our record compares poorly to the rest of Europe – we are the ones with the worst waste figures.

“That’s why it’s important that we do something to reduce waste volume and increase recycling. This is an area I plan to focus on,” she said.

One area in which changes can be expected is the sorting of rubbish in different municipalities. Currently, the extent to which different types of waste are sorted and collected varies between municipalities.

An example of this is bio waste, which is collected in specially-provided green bags and bins in Copenhagen Municipality, but other areas do not provide similar facilities.

Textiles, plastic and electronics were named by Wermellin as areas in which recycling can be increased.

“We need more sensible sorting of waste and we need to get Danes behind the project. I think they will be (behind it),” she said.

Municipal waste management firms were positive regarding new environmental initiatives on rubbish collection.

Mads Jakobsen, a city councillor in the Struer municipality in western Jutland, is also chair of the Dansk Affaldsforening association, which represents waste management companies.

“We are well underway with development of a more unified collection system across municipalities. You just need to be aware there is a difference between living in an apartment, detached housing or a holiday home,” Jakobsen said.

“That’s why individual considerations are necessary in the various municipalities,” he added.

Dansk Affaldsforening is currently in discussion with the food industry regarding potential markings on packaging which will aid correct separation of waste.

“That’s the next step and will make it much easier to sort (waste),” Jakbosen said.

READ ALSO: Denmark's Roskilde Festival creates a city's worth of rubbish. What are organizers and guests doing about it?

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Sweden Democrat slammed for denying climate crisis in parliament

The new Sweden Democrat MP Elsa Widding has been attacked as "shameful" and "deplorable", for denying the climate crisis in her maiden speech in the country's parliament.

Sweden Democrat slammed for denying climate crisis in parliament

In her speech, Widding, a civil engineer educated at Chalmers University of Technology, said that a warming planet would have advantages as well as disadvantages, and that there was no clear scientific backing for the climate crisis. 

“I believe that there is a lack of scientific evidence for saying that we find ourselves in a climate crisis,” she said. “The last time that was the case was in the 1960s when summers either stopped or became so short that we couldn’t produce a harvest.” 

She claimed that every piece of action Sweden is taking to combat climate change is simply “gesture politics”, and that even if Sweden cut its greenhouse gas emissions to zero, it would only shave 0.0027˚C from global temperatures. She called for an end to the “religion” of climate policy and campaigning. 

Markus Selin, an MP for the Social Democrats called Widding’s statement “deplorable” and said he was “ashamed” to hear it. 

“Just 24 hours ago we stood and listened to Ulf Kristersson here in the parliament’s chamber talk far and wide about climate efforts and the Paris Agreement, and now we are hear 24 hours later listening to the biggest party backing his government chirping up and saying we should drop all the work to get our planet out of the dirt.” 

Annie Lööf, leader of the Centre Party, called Widding’s statement “embarrassing”. 

“That the Sweden Democrats are climate change deniers is nothing new,” she said, saying that it was the Moderates, Christian Democrats, and Liberals who were really to blame for giving the party real political power. 

“Moderates, Christian Democrats and Liberals – how could you let the party of climate deniers get all the way into the government offices?”