The City of Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark with an area of 86 square kilometres and 600.000 inhabitants. With a history starting in the year 1043, the city is full of historic landmarks and significant sights, buildings and museums. All attractions and sights are within walking distance – or as the Copenhageners would say, within biking distance. The most famous attractions in the city are the statue of The Little Mermaid, the more than 100-year old amusement park Tivoli Gardens, and the freetown of Christiania. In the summer tourists can take a swim in the harbour, where the quality of the water is good enough to secure safe swimming. During winter tourists can get a glimpse of local winter bathers. Copenhagen is known for having some of the world’s most distinct and innovative cuisines. Worth mentioning is especially the Nordic kitchen, being of high quality and with a focus on local and seasonal ingredients. Copenhagen offers options for all budgets, from cafes and bistros to Michelin-starred restaurants. The City of Copenhagen is very ambitious in becoming carbon neutral in 2025 and will achieve this goal by implementing 60 different initiatives. Circular economy and sustainability are other important focus areas in The City of Copenhagen. The resource and waste management plan approved by the City Council has been introduced for the period 2013-2018. It has goals for increasing waste amounts being recycled as well as the prevention of waste.
Reflection on the tourism in the pilot
Most tourists in Copenhagen stay in the city area to explore the cultural and historic sites of the city. The City of Copenhagen hosts a lot of events, especially during the summer: different kinds of music festivals including an opera festival, theatre/circus festivals, marathons and other sportive events, large street parties and much more. Participants from all of Denmark as well as from the neighbouring countries travel to Copenhagen for these events.
Copenhagen hosted around 7 million overnight stays in 2014 .This number is increasing as an increasing amount of tourists choose Copenhagen as their destination for holidays. The high season is during summer especially during July. Both families and couples visit Copenhagen, staying in average 3.5 days.
Current waste management practices
Waste management in the City of Copenhagen is continuously improved through strategic plans in accordance with national and European objectives for waste and resource management. Recycling and reuse is the main focus for The City of Copenhagen. At the moment all households source segregate recyclable fractions and more fractions are introduced alongside the development of new sorting technologies. The fractions collected from the households at the moment are: paper, cardboard, metal, rigid plastic, hazardous waste, glass, electronic waste and residual waste. Bulky waste and garden waste can be collected from the households by agreement with the municipality or be delivered at the recycling stations.
Sorting waste and increasing recycling is the future but some materials are not possible to reuse or recycle. Waste incineration thereby becomes an essential part of the waste management system. The production of both electricity and heat results in high energy recovery from the waste being incinerated. In The City of Copenhagen the world’s most energy efficient incinerator will be in use from 2017. The Danish households are supplied with district heating from an extensive district heating network and this makes the high energy recovery from the incineration important.
Impact of tourism on waste management
The tourism in Copenhagen is a part of the activities in the city and thereby waste management from tourists is not a sector by itself. The City of Copenhagen is ambitious in the field of resource and waste management as well as sustainable actions. Businesses in Copenhagen are obliged to manage their own waste complying with the municipal waste management system. Source segregation in recyclable fractions is compulsory, but businesses are free to hire a private company collecting the waste for treatment. They are also obliged to secure documentation of that recyclable fractions are actually recycled. The municipality is putting a big effort to help increase the sorting and collection of recyclables where it is hard to collect these. At the moment prevention of food waste is a main issue in the context of households as well as from businesses. A lot of initiatives are helping to prevent food waste: social supermarkets, applications for mobile phones, restaurants providing guests with goodie (doggie) bags, teaching households as well as staff at large kitchens to use food items close to “best before”-date.