Denmark’s New Waste Sorting Strategy: A Step Toward A Circular Economy

by Alexander Bonde

The introduction of Denmark’s new climate and waste sorting plan drives the sector toward a more sustainable and circular future. However, this revolutionary strategy requires a highly efficient and optimised waste management system. The adoption of IoT technology and a logistical smart waste solution could be the answer.

From the 1st of July 2021, a new political agreement in Denmark states that all municipalities, businesses and citizens must begin sorting waste into 10 different fractions; food, paper, cardboard, metal, glass, plastic, textiles, residual waste, toxic waste and drinks/food containers.

The new policy is intended to develop more sustainable practices, a greener waste sector and contribute to their goal of a more CO² neutral waste industry by 2030. The strategy is based upon the principles of a circular economy and aims to increase recycling and reuse efforts. 

A Move Away From Incineration

Today, nearly a third of Denmark’s waste is burnt, wasting key resources as well as releasing a vast amount of CO². As a way to move away from incineration, their aim is to instead increase and strengthen their recycling efforts with a focus on plastics. In Europe, 25 million tons of plastic waste is produced each year. Denmark has set an ambitious goal to recycle 80% of plastic by 2030.

So how will they manage all of these new recycling streams? This vision will demand new methods of waste management as well as close collaboration with key players in the waste and recycling industry.

Without an appropriate solution, the creation of 10 waste fractions will inevitably pose new challenges for cities. With more fractions comes more waste streams that need managing. This in combination with a growing population means the amount of waste produced is only expected to increase.

Municipalities, therefore, should make use of a system that gives them more flexibility and supports the implementation of streamlining these processes. The solution needs to also be adaptable and optimised in relation to the specific local conditions e.g. multi-storey businesses or residential areas.

The Benefits of IoT Smart Waste Management 

Smart waste management can provide municipalities and businesses with the insights needed to ensure that multiple recyclable waste streams are efficiently organised into a detailed comprehensive overview. The use of a smart fill-level sensor and waste monitoring platform can provide a highly sophisticated solution, one that will make implementing this strategy manageable. 

An increase in waste fractions will inevitably lead to an increase in collection fees, especially in the places with the most people and the most waste. In an effort to offset these with savings, they can use smart bin sensors to collect and analyse data from containers. This allows for the prediction and optimisation of the recycling waste collections. 

With current waste collection methods, 9 out of 10 bins are emptied too early or too late, often at only 20%-30% capacity, contributing to a 50% higher level of CO² emissions. By switching to an IoT powered solution that allows for needs-based collections, unnecessary collections can be eliminated along with traffic congestion and excess CO² emissions.

Only collecting when the containers are full as opposed to statically scheduled collections, provides cities and business with the potential for huge financial savings. Overall, it leads to less unnecessary collection costs as well as a decrease in man-hours and a reduction of vehicle usage.

In the adoption of new recycling and waste strategies, smart waste management can provide more control and quality control measures of recycling streams. Current systems that can’t integrate with new IoT technologies limit these kinds of sustainable projects.

The introduction of this new regulation moves Denmark toward a more sustainable future of waste management. It is likely that many more countries will follow in their footsteps in the hopes of achieving an industry characterised by recycling and reusing.

IoT technology and smart waste management can be the answer to creating sustainable growth within this sector, not only in Denmark but worldwide. 

Interested to learn more about smart waste management? Contact a WasteHero expert today! 

  • WasteHero
  • Municipality
  • IoT
  • Bin
  • Green City
  • Recycle

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