Why are Copenhagen residents now recycling organic waste?
Copenhagen City Hall decided to sort organic household waste in September 2016, after 78 percent of city residents responded in a survey that they want to sort and recycle organic material if it is possible.
The programme began its rollout in August 2017, and it will take four months before all 280,000 households are equipped with the green tubs and bags for recycling organic waste. 20,000 houses can sign up to the scheme too.
Organic waste accounts for 40 percent of all household waste. An average home produces 3.5 kilograms of organic waste every week. 57,000 tons of organic waste is produced in Copenhagen every year.
Copenhagen City Hall has set a target that by 2018, 45 percent of recyclable household waste must be sorted. In February 2017, that number was 37 percent.
When organic waste is unloaded at the receiving facility, it will be mashed together to break up the waste bags. It is then mixed with wood chips and converted into biogas. When no more biogas can be extracted, composting starts. The biogas is used to produce electricity and heat, and to power busses, while the compost is used in agriculture.
How do I recycle organic waste?
Organic waste must be collected in the accompanying BIO bags, which are made of cornstarch and are biodegradable. Do not use regular plastic bags. The BIO bags must be knotted to minimise odours before being placed in the dedicated courtyard container. No “loose waste” should be placed in the container except items like cut flowers, corn cobs and rhubarb leaves that have not begun to biodegrade.
What can be recycled?
Food waste, raw and cooked
Rice, pasta and breakfast products
Meat, fish and bones
Bread and cakes
Fruit and vegetables
Sauce and fat
Eggs and eggshells
Nuts and nutshells
Coffee grounds and coffee filters
Tea leaves and tea filters
Used paper towels
What cannot be recycled?
Animal bedding (eg kitty litter and straw from rabbits)
Food waste in packaging
Source: Copenhagen Municipality