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Eva Kjer: Microplastics have no place in nature

Eva Kjer Hansen, Danish Minister for Environment and Food, will today visit the Vejle Spildevand wastewater treatment plant which has just initiated a trial to remove microplastics from wastewater

If microplastics and other plastic material from clothes, paint and car tyres, for example, find their way into the aquatic environment and ultimately end up in the food chain, there is a risk that the plastic will accumulate in animals and humans. Now a new trial at Vejle Spildevand wastewater treatment plant is aiming at removing microplastics from some of the wastewater from the local area. 

KD Group is behind the trial and has developed a membrane filter by combining known technologies in a new way. The pilot project is examining the amount of microplastics the membrane filter can retain. The trial was launched in early January 2016 and will last for three months. Analyses will be carried out every two weeks. 

“Microplastics have absolutely no place in nature and we must limit the spread of microplastics so that they do not end up in the aquatic environment and the food chain. A possible solution could be to remove microplastics from wastewater. A successful trial in Vejle will be a step in the right direction”, said Eva Kjer Hansen, Danish Minister for Environment and Food.

The Danish government has allocated a total of DKK 110 million in the Finance Act for 2016 to develop eco-technology (MUDP funding (Environmental Technology Development and Demonstration Programme)). This funding can be distributed to businesses that focus on removing microplastics from wastewater. The project in Vejle has not received MUDP funding, but in 2015 two other projects on removing microplastics from wastewater received funding from MUDP.

Read more about the projects (in Danish only). 

Researchers from the American research institution the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are monitoring the trial in Vejle, while the consulting engineering company, Envidan, is helping with documentation.

Eco-technology has growth potential
At a water summit one year ago, the then Danish Ministry of the Environment (now the Ministry of Environment and Food) and the water industry agreed on a water vision, the goal of which is to double exports of Danish water technology by 2025. Doubling exports will result in 3-4,000 new Danish jobs, according to the industry. Wastewater solutions and new purification methods are among the eco-technology solutions with largest exports and growth potential.

“We must exploit Danish competencies in water technology solutions. Many Danish companies are at the forefront in developing new technology which can be exported, and the government is supporting this work,” said Eva Kjer Hansen. 

At the end of 2015, the Danish EPA published a report showing that 99% of the microplastics released into the aquatic environment come from wear on car tyres and the soles of shoes, washing clothes and left-over paint, etc., much of which ends in wastewater.

Read the article about the report by the Ministry of Environment and Food (in Danish only).

Time and date
The Danish Minister for Environment and Food will visit Vejle Spildvand on Monday 18 January 2016, 11.15-12.30 am.

Address: Toldbodvej 20, 7100 Vejle, Denmark. The press is welcome.

Further information:
Jeanette Løv Rasmussen, Press Officer, Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark, tel.: +459359 7070, e-mail:

Mikkel Hall, Head of Function, Danish Nature Agency, tel. +45 2552 8569, e-mail: