Copenhagen’s eco-friendly policy that did not secure a budget – Copenhagen take away packaging return system

By Gyeongju Hyun

Takeaway container being thrown into a garbage can (By Ernst Calitz)

Last August, Lord Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen proposed a take away packing return system as a pilot project in Copenhagen. Under this project, restaurants, bars, and cafes voluntarily provide customers with reusable packaging. The customers who receive the reusable packaging can get the money back when they return it to the machine. Packaging includes pizza boxes, sushi trays, and coffee cups. This project was planned to be launched in Kodbyen, the old meatpacking district. Sophie expected that this system would expand to all parts of Denmark.

She planned to include DKK 7.5 million in the pilot plan. This budget was intended to provide incentives and compensate companies participating in the scheme.

In the end, however, the take-out packing return system proposed to reduce this waste was not included in next year’s Copenhagen budget. Social Democrat, the lord mayor’s party, failed to secure the final agreement. “The parties of this year’s budget agreement did agree to work with the subject at some point later on, but it is so far unclear how.” said The lord mayor’s secretary Julie Bender Thomsen.

Giuseppe Lanzafame, a co-founder of Kleen hub, one of the companies involved in creating the reusable packaging test area, has thought the take away packaging return system would be helpful for the sustainability of Denmark’s society. “We can still run the return system without any financial help, but maybe with some budget would be something at least better than nothing,” said Lanzafame.

This article is for the citizens in Copenhagen. It can be published in the Copenhagen post.