Denmark to repurpose unsold bread as pasta

Bread left on supermarket shelves could still find its way on to consumers’ plates after being repackaged as pasta or breadcrumbs under a new government-backed project.

Denmark to repurpose unsold bread as pasta
Your next packet of pasta? A new Danish government scheme could give unsold supermarket bread a second chance. File photo: Kristian Djurhuus/Ritzau Scanpix

The project, announced by the Danish Agricultural Agency on Friday, aims to make businesses more sustainable and cut food wasteage, the agency, which comes under the ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, said in a statement.

It is also supported by the Ministry of the Environment’s Green Development and Demonstration Programme (Grønt Udviklings- og Demonstrationsprogram, GUDP), which is providing funding of around 3 million kroner.

Unsold bread will be sorted into types by a specially-developed machine, scanned for mould and bacteria and then turned into crumbs.

This will allow it to be repurposed as pasta, crackers, muesli bars or similar products.

“It’s a good Danish food tradition to use old bread to make new food. We are now trying to use new technology to transfer this school of thought to a larger scale,” project leader Henrik Ottesen said in the statement.

Production companies, the consumer sector and NGO Stop Wasting Food (Stop Spild af Mad) are also participants in the project.

A selected number of Coop supermarkets are to take part in a test project for collection and processing of the bread.

Up to 90 percent of collected bread could be used for other purposes, Ottesen said.

“That’s why it makes sense from a sustainability point of view to transport the bread for recycling,” he said.

Initial testing with the newly-developed technology and participating supermarkets is expected to begin early next year.

READ ALSO: Danish supermarkets to sell more ugly vegetables

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‘We still have a chance’: Danish minister’s relief after Glasgow climate deal

Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen has expressed relief that a meaningful climate change deal was struck in Glasgow last night, after a last minute move by India and China nearly knocked it off course.

'We still have a chance': Danish minister's relief after Glasgow climate deal
Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen speaks at the announcement of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance in Glasgow on Tuesday. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

“For the first time ever, coal and fossil fuel subsidies have been mentioned. I’m very, very happy about that,” he told Denmark’s Politiken newspaper. “But I am also very disappointed that the stronger formulations were removed at the last minute.” 

Late on Saturday, the world’s countries agreed the Glasgow Climate Pact, after negotiations dragged on while governments haggled over phasing out coal. 

Denmark is one of the countries leading the phase out of fossil fuels, formally launching the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) with ten other countries and states at the Glasgow summit on Tuesday, announcing an end to oil exploration last December, and committing to phase out coal by 2030 back in 2017. 

Jørgensen conceded that the deal struck on Saturday was nowhere near far-reaching enough to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C, which scientists have estimated is critical to limiting the impacts of climate change, but he said the decision to hold another summit in Egypt next year meant that this goal could still be reached. 

“The big, good news is that we could have closed the door today. If we had followed the rules, we would only have had to update the climate plans in 2025, and the updates would only apply from 2030,” he said, adding that this would be too late. “Now we can fight on as early as next year. This is very rare under the auspices of the UN.” 

Limiting temperature rises to 1.5C was still possible, he said. 

“We have a chance. The framework is in place to make the right decisions. There was a risk that that framework would not be there.” 

Jørgensen said that he had come close to tears when India launched a last-minute bid to water down the language when it came to coal, putting the entire deal at risk. 

“It was all really about to fall to the ground,” he said. “The assessment was that either the Indians got that concession or there was no agreement.” 

Sebastian Mernild, a climate researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, said he was disappointed by the lack of binding targets and global deadlines in the plan, but said it was nonetheless “a step in the right direction”, particularly the requirement that signatories to the Paris Agreement must tighten their 2030 emissions reduction targets by the end of 2022.

“It’s good that this thing with fossil fuels has got in,” he added. “It’s a pity that you don’t have to phase them out, but only reduce.”

He said the test of whether the Glasgow meeting is a success or failure would not come until the various aspects of the plan are approved and implemented by members states.