DENMARK - SUMMARY OF POLICIES AND LEGISLATION FOR FOOD WASTE PREVENTION AND REDUCTION
Although Denmark has been successful in its waste management planning thanks to its waste incineration policy, it is one of the countries in Europe that produces the most waste per habitant, with an average of 719 kg of municipal waste per capita in 2011.
The Ministry of the Environment is the government agency in charge of the overall environmental policies and state-level administrative matters relating to the environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency under the Ministry is responsible for waste matters and performs supervisory and control functions by setting out the overall framework for waste management. Meanwhile, the municipalities are responsible for the management of waste, such as regulating the collection and treatment of household waste.
Denmark has no national plan for food waste. The Resources Strategy "Denmark without waste" is a general plan that aims to reduce and recycle waste in general. Over recent decades, Denmark has been incinerating almost 80% of household waste. The Government has now set a goal that in 2022 Denmark will be recycling 50% of household waste.
The Refood Label aims to implement a National Label for sustainable cafes and restaurants in Denmark. In the future, the label is foreseen to include food producers and products; it is also planned for the label to become international.
There are no specific national taxes on food waste. Currently the way that (food) waste is treated varies from municipality to municipality.
Municipalities are the primary actors responsible for waste, notably household waste. Their responsibilites lie in ensuring: household waste collection, adequate treatment capacity for Danish household waste, and the suitability of waste for incineration and landfilling within their municipalities.
Figure 1. Denmark’s policy mix at December 2014
In terms of campaigns, Stop Wasting Food is Denmark's largest non-profit consumer movement against food waste. Set up by consumers for consumers, Stop Wasting Food is an NGO that has constructively shaped public opinion in its drive to prevent food waste. It seeks to increase public awareness of the "throwaway society" by organizing campaigns, mobilizing press and media, and encouraging discussions, debates and events of all kinds to switch out REMA 1000 supermarkets' buy-one-get-one-free and other quantity-based discounts with general discounts. Buy-one-get-one-free and quantity discounts, frequently implemented by grocery stores to get produce off the shelves, often result in food being wasted at home. In further efforts against food waste, Supermarket Rema 1000 exhorts customers to weight vegetables and fruit instead of buying packets of tomatoes or potatoes. Both the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and the Danish EPA have launched campaigns to reduce food waste at household level.
In terms of projects and initiatives, Denmark will launch the world’s first Food Waste Think Tank in 2016, a new Danish apolitical think tank to gather knowledge and develop action plans to combat food waste.
Recently, the Nulskrald AVV municipal initiative has been launched to prevent waste and food waste. The project aims to collect new information on how people behave in terms of what they do with waste in Denmark. In addition, the project strives to evaluate possibilities for behavioural changes related to shopping, waste sorting and recycling. 105 households have signed up for the five-week trial period and have kept a food diary to consciously monitor food waste.
Currently in Denmark one of the greatest barriers for the retail sector to reduce food waste is the “used by date” and “best before”. The labelling is often misunderstood by the consumers and forces the shops to throw away eatable food.
As a consequence, the Veterinary and Food Administration and representatives of retail food businesses, non-governmental organizations on food waste and charity organizations have organized meetings in order to discuss the possibilities and the barriers of food donation and reduction of food waste in retail.
The overarching goal of the Danish food waste policy-mix is to reduce the amount of food waste which is produced on a whole and to recycle it. Denmark has a well-functioning system ensuring environmentally acceptable handling of all waste types. But the challenge of the future is to exploit resources in waste even better and to reduce environmental impacts.
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A) DENMARK’S NATIONAL PLAN/STRATEGY ON FOOD WASTE REDUCTION
The Danish Government (2013), Denmark without waste
The Danish Government (2014), Resource Plan for Waste Management 2013-2018
Ministry of Environment and Food (2013), Strategy on growth and resource-efficiency on food
B) MARKET-BASED INSTRUMENTS
Taxation of waste and raw materials (Act No. 311 of 2011)
Available from: http://faolex.fao.org/
C) REGULATORY SCHEMES/REGULATIONS TRADING SCHEMES
Environmental Protection Act N. 698 of September 22, 1998
Available from: http://lexadin.nl/wlg/legis/nofr/eur/arch/den/epa.doc
Statutory order No.48 on Waste of 13 January 2010
Statutory order No. 1650 from 13 December 2006
D) VOLUNTARY AGREEMENTS
Charter om Mindre Madspild (Charter on Less Avoidable Food Waste) 2011
E) RESEARCH AND TECHNICAL REPORTS
TNS Gallup (2012), Report "Danish consumers and doggy bags". Power Point Presentation. (in Danish)
Available from: http://goo.gl/Er72Y
Stop Spild Af Mad - Stop Wasting Food Movement (2013), Market analysis of various types of food waste among the Danish consumers. Report. (in Danish).
Available from: http://www.stopspildafmad.dk/madspildsanalyse.pdf
The Department of Nutrition, National Food Institute (2014), Food waste in connection to an organic conversion of the food procurement for public kitchens at the Danish Organic Action Plan. (in Danish).
Mogensen L., Hermansen J., Tydeman J., Knudsen M. (2011), Memorandum on Food waste in food production - from primary production to the retail, Aarhus Universitet, Det Jordbrugsvidenskabelige Fakultet, Institut for Jordbrugsproduktion og Miljø. (in Danish).
Concito (2011), The Hidden Food Waste Mapping and Recommendations. Report (In Danish).
Kjær B., Werge M. (2010), A preliminary survey on avoidable food waste in Denmark from 2010 based on available data, Copenhagen Resource Institute, Copenhagen. (In Danish)
Ministry of Environment (2014), Analysis of domestic waste in Denmark with special focus on avoidable food waste in multi-story houses, Copenhagen. (In Danish)
Ministry of Environment (2014), Analysis of food waste in the service sector, Copenhagen. (In Danish)
Ministry of Environment (2014), A report on the possibilities to reduce avoidable food waste in the retail trades, Copenhagen. (In Danish)
F) COMMUNICATION AND CAMPAIGNS
Use more – waste less (in Danish)
Available from: http://www.brugmerespildmindre.dk/
Information campaign by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (in Danish)
Stop Spild Af Mad (Stop Wasting Food Movement) Denmark Campaign (in Danish)
Available from: http://www.stopspildafmad.dk/inenglish
REMA 1000 supermarkets Campaign (in Danish)
Available from: http://www.rema1000.dk
G) PROJECTS AND OTHER MEASURES
Denmark’s and world’s first Food Waste Think Tank will be launched in 2015
Nulskrald AVV municipal initiative to prevent waste and food waste (in Danish)
Available from: http://www.nulskrald.dk/
REDFOOD Label (in Danish)
Available from: http://refoodlabel.dk/
Green Menu Planner (in Danish)
Available from: http://greenmenuplanner.com/da
Dialogue meetings between the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration and representatives of retail food businesses, non-governmental organizations on food waste and charity organizations
Available from: http://www.foedevarestyrelsen.dk/english/Pages/default.aspx
Mind the Trash (in Danish)
Available from: http://mindthetrash.dk/%20enhance
All links cited in the references have been accessed for the last time on October 27, 2015.