Survey commissioned by Oceana shows that Danes overwhelmingly support the reduction of single-use plastics and champion reusable alternatives
Research also finds that over 90% of interviewees believe disposable plastics should be reduced
Oceana, the world’s largest international ocean conservation organisation, asked a representative sample of the Danish population about their attitudes towards throw-away plastics. Seventy-five percent of respondents agreed that cafés should offer customers a reusable solution for take-aways, and found that the extensive use of disposable plastics poses a serious threat for the environment. The research1 further concludes that around 130 million disposable coffee cups could be used in Denmark every year.
Oceana calls on the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) to take this into account in their current discussions on the implementation of EU requirements to regulate single use plastics in Denmark. The organisation also recommends phasing out disposable coffee cups in Denmark, including a requirement that 80% of all cups be refillable by 2030. To achieve this, cafés and bars should be required to offer consumers reusable options, which 75% of the interviewees would see with positive eyes. The organisation also encourages the Danish Parliament to support the development of a deposit return system for coffee cups — a measure that 59% of Danes would be in favour of and use if it were available.
“This research shows that 9 in 10 citizens are deeply concerned about plastic pollution and would like to see changes in the current legislation. Now, political representatives have the opportunity to act accordingly. The Government and all the parties in Parliament should go beyond the minimum standards set by the EU, and stop this throw away culture that is harming the ocean. The best way to do this is by strongly investing in reusable options”, said Naja Andersen, senior policy advisor for Oceana in Europe.
The Folketinget is currently discussing a proposal from the Ministry of Environment regarding an extended producer responsibility scheme for single-use plastics under the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive and the EU Packaging Directive. This means that manufacturers shall cover the costs of collecting and handling waste from their single-use products.
Denmark is a coastal country with a strong take-away coffee culture. According to the responses gathered through the poll, Oceana estimates that Danes use 10.8 million coffee cups in a month, many of which risk ending up in the ocean and affecting marine ecosystems. In fact, disposable cups are among the top 10 items most commonly found in Danish nature, including beaches.2 Cups and other plastic items are a direct threat to wildlife, which gets killed either through entanglement, choking or starvation.
Oceana advocates for replacing single-use plastic items with refillable and reusable options, rather than relying on other throw-away materials. Paper cups used for coffee to-go have a plastic coating to ensure they are waterproof. This makes them almost impossible to recycle, and means they only degrade slowly. When they do so, they tend to break into smaller pieces (microplastics), which contaminate the natural environment.
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