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Danes are the European champions in generating waste

February 18th, 2022

EU rules about sustainable packaging are about to be changed. Considering this, Austria, Luxemburg, Holland, Sweden, and Denmark have sent a joint letter to the European Commission, requesting introduction of a recycling target for the specific groups of products. These five countries present the most important steps to be followed in the EU’s waste hierarchy, in which the emphasis is on the reduction of use of packaging and prevention of packaging waste production rather than recycling.

Environmental organization Plastic Change consider Denmark’s involvement in the implementation of these recycling targets at EU level very positive. It is, as a matter of fact, something that the Plastic Change has been fighting for for a very long time.

Despite this, Denmark is the European champion in generating waste with 844 kg of waste per inhabitant per year. This means that Denmark has not broken the waste curve yet, and from the Plastic Change’s viewpoint, this can only be done by introducing the recycling target, where the focus is on the reduction and prevention rather than waste management.

According to the Plastic Change, introduction of the recycling target in addition to the present negotiations about implementation of the extended producer responsibility for packaging in Denmark, is clearly advantageous. In their opinion, in this way we can start breaking the waste curve already now. France has already done this, and if Denmark wants to be a green pioneer country, we should take our chance now rather than wait for EU to determine the recycling target.

Implementation of the extended producer responsibility for packaging in Denmark is under negotiation. The Plastic Change has in this regard together with Danmarks Naturfredningforening (Danish Nature Conservation Association), WWF, Rådet for Grøn Omstilling (Green Transition Denmark), and Oceana prepared joint recommendations containing the national recycling targets for the specific groups of products:

  • Packaging waste should be reduced by 25 percent in 2025 and 50 percent in 2030
  • Recycling target for all packaging in marketing should be reduced for 10 percent in 2025, 15 percent in 2027, and 50 percent in 2050
  • 80 percent of all drink- and food containers that is marketed in Denmark in 2030 should be reusable.

You can read more about this here