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Copenhagen gives bottle collectors 'dignity'

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A recently-emptied 'deposit shelf'. Photo: Justin Cremer
12:36 CEST+02:00
With a simple move, the City of Copenhagen has made life a bit simpler and more dignified for the bottle collectors who make money by claiming the deposit on discarded cans and bottles.
As a trial project, city officials have installed ‘deposit shelves' on rubbish cans in three locations in the capital. The idea is that people can set their unwanted bottles and cans there so that others can collect them for the one kroner deposit without having to roll up their sleeves and dig through rubbish. 
 
“With these deposit holders, we will ensure better rubbish sorting and recycling, keep the city clean and at the same time create a little more dignity for some of our marginalized residents,” Copenhagen's deputy mayor for environmental affairs, Morten Kabell, told broadcaster DR. 
 
According to Michael Lodberg Olsen, one of the driving forces behind the trial project, a full 166 million kroner of deposit money went unclaimed last year. 
 
“We want that [money] to go to the marginalized,” he told DR. 
 
Kabell himself installed the new deposit shelves on rubbish bins near Copenhagen Central Station along with 55-year-old bottle collector Michael Pedersen. 
 
Pedersen told Metroxpress that the new initiative the project will make a big difference for people like him. 

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“There is more dignity [with the new project] than having to stick your whole arm down into a nasty rubbish bin,” he said. 
 
The new initiative is being tested through August. If it is successful, it will be extended to many other locations in Copenhagen. 

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