I had been planning to visit one of the eight Odense Renovation local recycling centres in Odense for some time now. After a very short email communication, the visit was set up and the guide was happy to talk. I took my notes and decided to write an article about it, to give you a broader perspective.
Citizens can drive their “trash” and discard it in the corresponding container. Just imagine that – there are 43 different categories! That means 43 different containers, according to what exactly your “trash”(actually a resource) is made of!
Categories range from glass, metal, paper, gardening waste to acids, CDs and DVDs, windows with a frame, windows without a frame, wood, car batteries, textile and many more.
There is also a category for garden waste which is later turned into a compost. Citizens can come and buy this compost for around 20 Dkk (2,7 Eur) per trailer.
Every container has a big label, that says what kind of waste belongs right in this specific category, plus it is marked either with a green, red or grey square. Green colour means waste that is being recycled, red means the waste that is being incinerated and grey is for the waste that goes to the landfill. Fortunately, there were more green categories than the red or grey ones. Those are always the last option, only if the waste cannot be recycled and used again as a new material.
From Odense Renovation, some of the collected categories are transported to Germany to be recycled, since there are specialized companies for that matter. Paper and plastics for recycling are being delivered to Marius Pedersen, a company standing right next to Odense Recycling Station. I also got to know that some of the collected clothes are being transformed into universal textile cloths by a Danish company.
Electronics is later disassembled into pieces and precious metals and other reusable parts are being recycled. Even items such as DVDs or windows are not thrown out, but the materials are reused again.
Every centre also has a room for chemicals of all sorts. These chemicals are further handled by STENA Recycling. People bring here different acids, pesticides, bases, even chemicals in non-labelled bottles that they forgot what they were. The proper storing conditions inside the chemical room was impressive. It was very encouraging to see that some people thought about items such as cleaning chemicals and brought them here instead of throwing it into the communal waste. On the other hand, I also got to see how some people do not respect the waste separation even when they come here. We found plastic bags in the container for paper, or a big metal ladder in the container for incineration.
Can I recycle pizza boxes?
Not so many people know that pizza boxes that are dirty do not belong in the bin for recycling. If you throw a cardboard or a paper that has residuals of food on it, it can degrade the rest of the paper and then it cannot be recycled.
How do I recycle plastics properly?
Plastic boxes and packages should be rinsed before being put into the recycling bin as well, due to hygiene. The same applies to dirty glass jars and bottles. Plastic bags for recycling should not be visibly dirty either. Do not worry about the labels on the plastics, it will be removed in the process.
Do I need to take the lid off?
No, you do not have to worry about it, the lid will also be recycled in the process.
How about milk cartons and tetra packs?
Unfortunately, these can not be recycled, but Tetra pack is working on making these recyclable by 2020, which is good news!
Currently, most of the municipal waste is being burned for energy. This trend should shift since according to EU recycling scheme, by the year 2022, 50% of all the municipal waste has to be recycled. That is why Odense Municipality will be continuously connecting more and more households into the collecting system for hard and soft plastics, paper and cardboard, glass and organic waste. Odense Municipality has a goal of creating an installation that allows the citizen to throw out a majority of household waste, which will then be sorted automatically at the new plant. Which means fewer worries about the recycling for the citizens and more jobs in the circular economy.
If you live in Odense, you can find updates on Odense Renovation A/S Facebook page.
Denmark, fingers crossed!