Over the years Denmark has developed a particular talent for waste management, and has crystallized its thinking into what is now referred to as the "Danish model".
The core of the model is a mindset – that waste is viewed as an asset, not a liability. So first comes recycling to recover material value; then comes incineration of combustible waste to extract valuable energy; finally, the residual waste which can neither be recycled nor burnt is used as landfill. And there is a commensurate tariff of municipal charges to encourage compliance, scaled from no tax for recycling to a maximum tax for dumping. And experience shows that the model works.
Now word of the Danish model, or at least the combustion part of it, has reached the editorial ears of that illustrious journal the New York Times, writes Energy Supply. Indeed, NYT has become interested enough in the Danes' special relationship with garbage to interview the mayor of Hørsholm, a relatively well-heeled township north of the capital Copenhagen, as well as Morten Slotved, the board chairman of the local waste incineration unit, on the subject.
Morten Slotved explained to regional newspaper Frederiksborg Amts Avis that New York currently takes a very different approach to waste management: "In New York they load all their waste into trucks and drive it to Ohio, about 1,000 kilometers away. There they dump the waste in a big hole and do no more about it." Slotved goes on to say that the Americans are curious over how it can be legal in Denmark and other European countries to site a waste incineration plant right next to neighborhoods where the wealthy reside.
Readers of the New York Times can look forward to discovering the answer to this question, and finding out how Hørsholm lives well and breathes easily with a plant on its doorstep that produces both electricity and district heating by incinerating up around 140,000 tons of locally-produced garbage every year.