Rigshospitalet, Denmark’s national hospital run by the Capital Regional Council, is one of the intended users of the protective equipment along with test centres and hospitals all over Denmark. Alas the demand did not at all meet expectations. Photo: Harper Pestinger


“It’s frustrating”, says chairman of the Capital Regional Council, Lars Gaardhøj, about the decision Tuesday last week to incinerate 89 million pieces of protective equipment acquired by Denmark during Covid that have passed its expiration day in the past months. 

The expired equipment came with a hefty price tag when it was purchased. According to Gaardhøj there was a bidding war between nations at the time of purchase.

“Our assessment is that the expired stocks had a purchasing price of 200 million DKK (£23.8 million). That is excluding the hand sanitizer which comes on top of that”, says Gaardhøj. 

According to him, the council have sought to prolong the lifetime of the equipment but to little avail. Thus, the millions of masks, gloves and scrubs will be sent to cogeneration plants and be incinerated for heat and power. The Regional Council estimates it will take 7 months to get through the entire stock.

“We are still very open to finding other solutions”, Gaardhøj adds. “We have received several inquiries from organisations that wants to help us donate the equipment. However, until there is an appropriate solution we will proceed as decided upon”.

Besides the protective equipment 3,521 pallets of sanitizer has also passed their expiration dates but need different handling. It is currently not decided what to do about that. 

The expired protection equipment in Denmark’s national stocks

Type of protective equipmentNumber of pallets
Disinfection, hand sanitizer2,322
Disinfection, surface sanitizer1,199
Gloves, examination1
Scrubs, protection1,886
Face mask, type I238
Face mask, type II2,132
Face mask, respiratory protection792
Visor, protective goggles740
Total (not including sanitizers)6,988
Source: The Capital Region of Denmark – The Regional Council.
Photo from the warehouse that has all the expired stock. Photo: Capital Region of Denmark’s press service.

(This story is for an international audience interested in European (local) politics and culture and could be published on in the Foreign News section)