What you need to know about sustainably scrapping white goods in Denmark

White goods or domestic appliance are relatively easy to put out for recycling in Denmark, but there are a few important things to know.

What you need to know about sustainably scrapping white goods in Denmark
There are a few things worth knowing if you want to minimise the imprint of your outgoing dishwasher or refrigerator in Denmark.Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Domestic appliances (hårde hvidevarer in Danish) such as washing machines, dishwasher or refridgerators – can normally be scrapped by dropping them off at municipal junkyards (lossepladser).

In some residential areas appliances can also be left at designated areas for large household waste (storskrald) collection. These are often fenced off and locked and can only be accessed by people who living in the connected housing, for example in apartments managed by housing associations (boligforeninger).

At these locations, there will normally be containers or signs showing where other types of waste can be left for collection, such as cardboard, metal and fabrics.

It is important that cables are not cut off or otherwise removed from appliances before they are dumped.

Many appliances which are otherwise recyclable cannot be reused because their cables have been cut off, according to Elretur, a producer responsibility organisation. An analysis conducted by Econet on behalf of the organisation found a large number of appliances were not being efficiently reused for this reason.

As many as 12 percent of domestic appliances cannot be reused for this reason.

That is because once the cables have been removed, the product cannot be renovated and prepared for resale on the second-hand market. That means it enters the waste system instead of being recycled.

“Products without a power cable, because it has been cut off, cannot be reused and are therefore lost to the circular economy,” Elretur director Morten Harboe-Jepsen told news wire Ritzau.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which comes under the Danish Ministry of Environment, says that around 500 tonnes of power cables find their way to the wrong municipal waste containers annually due to incorrect sorting.

“One of the (problems) is that people are often misinformed that the cable must be sorted into a different category than where you leave out your domestic appliances,” Harboe-Jepsen said.

“That makes some people cut off the cables under the conviction that this is the right thing to do. But it isn’t (correct),” he added.

As such, the organisation was keen to spread the message about leaving the cables attached, he explained.

“The products left out for scrap should be kept as complete as possible for as long as possible so we have a chance of sorting them into ones that can be returned to the market through reparation,” he said.

READ ALSO: Denmark throws away too much plastic, recycling could save millions: report

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Norwegian battery start-up Freyr demands subsidies to complete factory

The Freyr battery start-up has halted construction of its Giga Arctic factory and demanded additional government subsidies, Norway's state broadcaster NRK has reported.

Norwegian battery start-up Freyr demands subsidies to complete factory

Jan Arve Haugan, the company’s operations director, told the broadcaster that the company would not order any more equipment until Norway’s government committed to further subsidies. 

“We are holding back further orders for prefabricated steel and concrete pending clarification on further progress,” he said. “We are keen to move forward, but we have to respect that there is a political process going on, and we have expectations that words will be put into action.” 

Freyr in April 2019 announced its plans to build the 17 billion kroner Giga Arctic in Mo i Rana, and has so far received 4 billion kroner in loans and loan guarantees from the Norwegian government. It has already started construction and hopes to complete the build by 2024-2025. 

Haugan said that the enormous subsidies for green industry in the Inflation Reduction Act voted through in the US in 2022 had changed the playing field for companies like Freyr, meaning Norway would need to increase the level of subsidies if the project was to be viable. 

Freyr in December announced plans for Giga America, a $1.3bn facility which it plans to build in Coweta, Georgia.   

“What the Americans have done, which is completely exceptional, is to provide very solid support for the renewable industry,” Haugen said. “This changes the framework conditions for a company like Freyr, and we have to take that into account.” 

Jan Christian Vestre, Norway’s industry minister, said that the government was looking at what actions to take to counter the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act, but said he was unwilling to get drawn into a subsidy battle with the US. 

“The government is working on how to upgrade our instruments and I hope that we will have further clarifications towards the summer,” he said.

“We are not going to imitate the Americans’ subsidy race. We have never competed in Norway to be the cheapest or most heavily subsidised. We have competed on competence, Norwegian labour, clean and affordable energy and being world champions in high productivity.”