Across Waste and Resources
A dialogue project aimed at gathering the stakeholders of the waste sector, busines organizations and municipalities within the Capital Region to develop a common roadmap for circular economy and new circular business models. Denmark is traditionally one of the leading countries when it comes to waste management. This position has been achieved through a combination of efficient planning, effective legislation and strong cooperation between authorities, companies, and knowledge institutions. However, work is still needed to utilize waste as a resource and find new pathways for collaborations on circular business models.
The project was initiated in 2018 and spans across three years. The project is being managed by the Danish Board of Technology and DAKOFA (Waste and resource network Denmark) and is financed by the Capital Region of Denmark. Furthermore, other partners in the project include waste management companies, municipalities, a university, and trade associations. To stimulate the market for secondary resources, reuse and repair, a new form of dialogue between partners is needed, which have not previously been present in the linear economy.
Development of the project
In the initial phase of the project several workshops were held in order to determine the future course of the project. The workshops each focused on a specific area such as Waste plans in the municipalities in the Capital Region, Construction waste, Residual waste, Plastic and packaging, Small and Medium-large companies, Electronic waste, and Bulky waste. For each workshop, key stakeholders from both the private sector and the municipalities were present in order to promote a dialogue concerning the challenges associated with the workshop theme. As a result, the workshops determined which areas would be explored further in the project, leading to the formation of smaller subgroups with specific areas of interest. The subgroups covered the areas of Reuse and Reparation with a focus on electronics, textiles and bulky waste, Small and Medium-large companies addressing challenges with the waste collecting, and Data collection for the Waste system.
Exploring circular solutions in the waste system
A report developed in relation to the project Across Waste and Resources has analyzed the material and waste flow in the Capital Region. Through the analysis, the report was able to identify waste hotspots and systematic hotspots, which became the foundation for the future work in the project. The material and waste flow analysis included all materials used in private households and the private sector. The analysis further illustrated, that even though the Capital Region has ambitious goals and historically speaking has been a frontrunner when it comes to sustainability, significant change is still needed to achieve a zero-waste circular system.
The material and waste flow analysis identified 5 waste hotspots and 4 systematic hotspots based on an assessment of volume and CO2 footprint.
The waste hotspots are presented below:
- Construction waste
- Food in residual waste
- Bulky waste
- Plastic and packing
Other material flows such as Textiles were also addressed due to volume and environmental challenges. However, more than two thirds of the Textiles in the Capital Region are not calculated in the official waste statistics, and they therefore prove difficult to track in the current system.
The system restricts recycling
The analysis highlighted several systematic hotspots, which all act as barriers in the transitioning to more circular business models. There is a need for a customized system for danish businesses, in which they systematic can monitor the waste levels, and thus identify potential resources. Furthermore, a much more developed database is needed, since there currently is no data regarding the use of waste after it has been collected for recycling. The lack of data is making it impossible to register the quality of the recycled materials or which new products are being produced by the recycled material.
Waste planning in the municipalities in the Capital Region
All municipalities in Denmark must provide a plan for their efforts on waste management. The project Across Waste and Resources made an overview concerning elements of Circular Economy in the plans formed by the municipalities in the Capital Region. This overview provided insight showing a growing interest and a focus on the pathway towards Circular Economy on a policy level and in relevant parts of the administration in the municipalities, but also few large scale experiences and still a long way to go.
As a final activity the project aims to compile visions in an actionable roadmap with the objective of delivering achievable and tangible goals for the transitioning to a circular economy in the Capital Region in 2030. Activities and results obtained throughout the project such as research, workshops and the material and waste flow analysis will be the main input for the composition of the roadmap. The roadmap will address barriers and challenges in the value chain of the waste system to propose possible solutions for future circular partnerships to achieve a transitioning to a circular economy.
Senior Project Manager