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A new perspective on food waste: an available resource

Minister for Environment and Food, Eva Kjer Hansen, sees an opportunity to improve the circular economy by turning food waste into new materials

Every year, 700,000 tons of food waste ends up in the garbage cans of Danish homes, cafeterias, restaurants and grocery stores.

A large part of this is taken directly to incineration plants, but the waste can provide greater value, if it is recycled as resources. This is demonstrated by seven new recommendations from the National Panel on Bio-Economy (Det Nationale Bioøkonomipanel).

Any food waste, which cannot be stopped from spoiling, may amongst other things be used for the production of bio-plastic or biogas. Today a number of important nutrients, including phosphorus and potassium, are lost when organic waste is incinerated. A better use of these nutrients and organic structures will be an important step towards a more circular economy.

- Often food waste is considered worthless garbage, but there is a potential to make far better use of our organic waste. These recommendations confirm to me that we must continue to use the organic waste and seek out new opportunities for recycling. A market-based approach will contribute to earning the highest value possible from our waste, and the Government intends to closer examine every single recommendation, states Minister for Environment and Food, Eva Kjer Hansen.

As a part of the food and agriculture package, DKK four million have been earmarked to optimise the work of the National Panel on Bio-Economy from 2016-2019.

Political negotiations on their way
This spring, the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate will initiate the political negotiations to put the waste sector out to tender.

- The waste sector holds a large potential for rationalisation, which we will be working to realise during the spring. The Panel’s recommendations for more tendering and rationalisation is well aligned with the already on-going work, where it will be natural to include the recommendations of the Panel, states Minister for Energy, Utilities and Climate Lars Christian Lilleholt.

Read the recommendations from the National Panel on Bio-Economy here (in Danish)

Further information:
Jonatan Lykke-Olesen, Press Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Food: tel.: +45 9359 7082, e-mail: