Danish Parliament fails to set ambitious measures to curb Single-Use Plastics

Recent research commissioned by Oceana shows that Danes believe that cafés and take-aways should provide refillable containers for food and drink

Press Release Date: April 28, 2021

Location: Copenhagen


Irene Campmany | email: icampmany@oceana.org | tel.: +34 682 622 245

The Danish Parliament missed a key opportunity to curb the flood of single-use plastics that are suffocating our ocean. Instead of introducing binding targets and measures to support refillable options as an alternative to single-use plastics, the Parliament approved a proposal from the government that only introduces the bare minimum requirements imposed by EU law.

It is disappointing that with this new legislation Denmark will only implement the minimum standards set by the European Commission on how to apply the Single-Us Plastics Directive. To solve this pollution crisis from the root, we need to dramatically reduce the production and consumption of plastics. Denmark had all the potential to be a champion on this matter, but our political leaders fell far short of this ambition said Naja Andersen, senior policy advisor for Oceana in Europe.

The EU Single-Use Plastics Directive requires that countries set up extended producer responsibility on several single-use plastic products. In this sense, Oceana considers it positive that Denmark will now make producers pay for the clean-up and waste handling costs of their products. But this will not be enough to ensure a fundamental shift away from single-use to reusable solutions, which is the only way to keep plastics away from the environment and the ocean. 

The bill approved by Parliament provides a framework for the Minister of Environment, Lea Wermelin, to set out the extended producer responsibility scheme through ministerial decrees, including the setting of costs and potential measures to give producers incentives to produce more sustainable products.

Important decisions are therefore still upcoming. The Ministry of Environment will now be drafting the ministerial decrees which will implement the bill. Oceana urges Minister Wermelin to work with the political parties and produce ministerial decrees that will set actual national targets for further reductions of single-use plastics and single use packaging and increase reusable packaging.

Notes to the Editor:

Oceana’s proposal for the Danish Parliament was to set national reduction and reuse targets for single-use plastics and packaging, including a complete phasing out of disposable coffee cups in Denmark, and an 80% target for refillable cups and containers for take-away food by 2030. The Parliament should propose measures such as: 

  1. Banning disposable plastics for on-site consumption, for example in cafés and bars. 
  1. Requiring coffee shops and take-away outlets to offer consumers a refillable choice for their take-away food and drinks. 
  1. Banning disposable cups and other single-use plastics at major events, such as festivals and sporting events. 
  1. Introducing levies on single-use packaging for take-away (just like for plastic bags). 
  1. Supporting the development of reuse solutions, such as a deposit return system for refillable coffee cups. 

In a recent poll conducted for Oceana, 90% of respondents agreed that disposable plastics should face reductions. The results also showed that 75% think that cafés and bars should be required to offer consumers refillable options.

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Learn more:

Oceana’s recommendations on EPR regarding SUPs and packaging

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