The deal, which was agreed by a cross-aisle majority of parties last week, ensures that costs incurred due to use of plastic packaging will in future be paid be producers, rather than consumers.
“The agreement specifically means that it will be the polluter who has to pay for the packaging that ends up in our bins,” environment minister Lea Wermelin told news wire Ritzau.
“This will give manufacturers a clear financial incentive to design greener. The greener you design, the less you have to spend as a company,” she said.
The policy will result in a reduction of CO2 emissions of 120,000 tonnes by 2030, the Ministry of the Environment claims. A saving for households on waste removal costs is expected to be 600 kroner per year minus VAT.
Along with the Social Democratic government, the Liberal (Venstre), Socialist People’s Party (SF), Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre), Red Green Alliance, Conservative, Danish People’s Party and Alternative party all back the parliamentary agreement.
Companies are expected to pay for plastic packaging under collective schemes which will oblige them to manage the waste themselves under a membership system, for which they will pay a weighted fee. Greener packaging will incur lower costs.
Denmark is one of the last countries in the European Union to make producers liable for the plastic waste they produce, and the measure isn’t scheduled to go into effect until January 1st, 2025 — the EU deadline for a bloc-wide plastic initiative.
Data from EU agency Eurostat meanwhile show Denmark produces the most waste per capita in all the EU.
Lobby group Plastic Change/Rådet for Grøn Omstilling criticised the political deal as lacking ambition in a press statement.
“We had the chance to be a leading green country, as we would like to be, on this issue. But there’s no incentive for companies that want to go first on green conversions,” the organisation’s senior consultant Lone Mikkelsen said.
Wermelin rejected the criticism but welcomed the pressure from environmental groups.
“800 kilograms per Dane each year is too much [waste] and that’s why we must consume more sustainably. That’s what this agreement will help us to do. Our expectation is that businesses will start straight away,” she said.