Copenhagen to pilot take-out food packaging refund scheme

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In Copenhagen, it is rare to find bottles or cans in the litters, because in the country there is the deposit system where you get back the money you pay when buying bottles or cans . The Danish deposit and return system is the most efficient in the world, with more than 93% of plastic bottles and cans being returned and recycled. But the culture of take-out food is prevalent in the city as the Copenhagen Municipality estimates that at least 200 tonnes of plastic take-out packaging ends up in public bins every year.

Therefore, Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen aims to test an experimental system where pizza containers, sushi trays and coffee cups should be able to be returned. The proving ground will be the popular and trendy district of Kodbyen, the former meat district, where restaurants, bars and offices are now located. “Far too much packaging for our Thai food box, pizza tray and plastic cup are produced to be used once. And much of all the waste even ends up on our streets and parks. is neither good for our climate, nor for our environment, nor for city life,” Hæstorp Andersen wrote. The municipality’s cleaning unit has to do a huge amount of work, especially on weekends, to clean up after people who spent their evenings in the trendy district.

The initiative follows earlier measures taken by the city of Copenhagen, for example requiring that for events where drinks are served, disposable plastic cups are not used, but rather washable recycling solutions. “We are confident that we can eradicate single-use from Denmark,” said Robert Dichtl, founder of kleen hub, one of the companies involved in setting up the reusable packaging test zone, among NGOs and institutions. public and private. Since 2021, kleen hub has been testing a return system for reusable cups in the Danish capital in collaboration with cafes and bakeries.

Consumers are generally environmentally and climate conscious and favor the use of recyclable packaging. But from behavioral research, we know that lack of awareness of practices can be a barrier to trying them. In 2021, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency commissioned a consumer survey on the pros and cons of reusable takeaway packaging, which suggested that consumers would be primarily motivated to choose reusable packaging over their counterparts. to take away, if the purchase was cheaper or if a reward was given. Hence the decision to test this idea now on a small scale: “I believe that the people of Copenhagen will make an effort for a greener future”, said Mayor Hæstorp Andersen.

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