What is the Danish Coastal Lottery anyway?
The idea is simple. Participating municipalities have installed boxes and collection points along the Danish coast. The boxes contain bags, tickets and an explanation for locals and visitors to the area.
Beach cleaners can fill a bag with whatever rubbish they find on the beach. To enter the lottery, people just need to fill in their name and contact details on the ticket, attach it to their bag, and return it to the collection point. The tickets are drawn at an annual ceremony in December.
The prizes include days out at local holiday attractions and gift vouchers.
Cheap and effective
The cost for local authorities is minimal. Local businesses sponsor the prizes and in most cases municipal workers already visited the collection points to pick up rubbish.
Participating municipalities pay a small fee to KIMO Denmark to cover administrative and promotional costs. But Karen Sandrini, Chair of the Planning and Environment Committee of Esbjerg, says that on balance, they may even save money by taking part:
“It’s often local governments who face the bill for beach cleaning, so any initiative that reduces that burden means municipal resources can be spent elsewhere.”
Not about the money
But of course, the lottery is not really about the money or the prizes, Sandrini explains:
“The nice thing about the Kystlotteriet [Coastal Lottery] is that visitors enjoy playing their small part to clean up the beach, and together those small actions add up to a big impact.”
In fact, KIMO Denmark estimates that scheme has already collected almost a tonne of waste from Danish beaches.
A clean beaches treasure hunt?
Ryan Metcalfe, who works for Varde municipality and helps to administer the scheme as KIMO Denmark’s national coordinator, says many visitors to Denmark have been taking part:
“We know people from around the world enjoy visiting Denmark, so we provided promotional material in English and German. But we were nevertheless surprised and happy to see so many people joining in while on their vacation.”
Sten Helberg, the creator of the original Coastal Lottery in Norway compares taking part in the lottery to the fun of a treasure hunt. He underlines the importance of raising awareness and offering people the chance to act for the environment.
The six municipalities already taking part in the Danish Kystlotteriet are , , , , and . But they hope more local governments will join them and that the number of lottery points will continue to grow in the coming years.
Can it get better?
KIMO Denmark certainly think so. On the 22nd of March 2022, they agreed to do away with the paper tickets and replace them with digital tickets. This will streamline the whole process, save on administration costs and spare some trees as well! In the meantime, locals and visitors can continue to enjoy cleaner beaches – and, with a bit of luck, some great prizes.