Letter sent to the Danish Government by KIMO Denmark
KIMO Denmark received a copy of the letter of the Minister for the Environment and Food to the European Commission with comments and views on a European plastic strategy. We are aware that the government will draw up a national action plan against plastic pollution and that work will begin when there is a plastic strategy from the EU.
KIMO supports the work. We are pleased that the Danish opinion recommends to the EU Commission that the strategy must be ambitious, that it is long-term and that the entire value chain is part of the challenges associated with the consumption and disposal of plastics. We believe that the Danish strategy must be just as ambitious.
We are of the opinion that everyone has a responsibility. Plastic as a material should be used in a sensible way without causing unnecessary pollution. There must be focus on reducing unnecessary plastic as well as optimizing society’s use of plastic to reduce the sources of plastic pollution.
All sectors must work towards plastic becoming part of a circular system and economy. In this regard, it is important that it starts with the manufacturers responsibility for product design that makes it suitable for easy recycling. Consumers must be able to make an informed choice and have the opportunity for proper disposal of all plastic waste for recycling. In the end, opportunities and markets must be created for the recycled plastic to become new products.
We also believe that there must be effective systems for collecting plastic pollution on our coasts and innovative technologies that can recycle these materials.
Specifically, KIMO Denmark recommends that the Danish strategy include:
Initiatives that restrict products that are only suitable for single use. KIMO’s surveys on the west coasts show that more items that rinse up regularly are disposable products. Among other things, we can find balloons and other party items, cotton swabs, straws, cartridges, plastic bottles, capsules, disposable cups and cutlery.
Balloon releases and outdoor use of plastic party items (such as strips and confetti) should be considered littering. These plastic products find the way to the sea via the air and via surface water. We believe that there should be a national ban on the launch of balloons and that requirements for degradability for party items for outdoor use are required. That is, parts that are going to lie in the environment are manufactured in decomposable natural materials such as paper and cardboard.
There must be initiatives that help businesses and stores reduce their overuse and sales of plastic products, which are sources of unnecessary plastic pollution. This includes focusing on products containing micro-plastic and products such as cotton swabs, which can alternatively be made in natural materials.
The government must support research against microparticles from surface water and wastewater. It is obvious that the municipalities and treatment plants are included in the work because they are responsible for both sewerage and sewage treatment. The municipalities could participate in research projects such as the development of technology for limiting and purifying particulate matter from surface water and wastewater. The problem is worldwide and therefore technology and initiatives developed and tested in Denmark can be exported to other countries. It is both good for the environment and the Danish economy.
The government must also support initiatives that create and strengthen a larger market for recycled plastics including “sea plastics” in new products. It can be a collaboration with the plastic industry to convey information about products from Danish recycling companies, to make them more known nationally and internationally, for example. where there is focus on Danish technology and innovation.
Initiatives that remove plastic from the environment should also be supported. KIMO believes that the municipalities, especially on the west coast of Denmark, are the worst affected by plastic contamination and should be supported financially in connection with municipal beach cleaning. The waste is not produced in the municipalities, but clean coasts are an important prerequisite for the local and national tourist industry. The municipalities provide a clean and attractive coast for beach guests. This can be done by grants for beach cleaning and for removal of waste disposal waste.
KIMO Denmark hopes that our contribution will be included in the action plan.
Chairman of KIMO Denmark