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OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Denmark 2019

image of OECD Environmental Performance Reviews: Denmark 2019

Denmark's energy and carbon intensities are among the lowest in the OECD area. Green taxation as a share of GDP is the highest in the OECD, and the country is a leader in eco-innovation. Denmark has also achieved impressive results in the material recovery of most waste streams and reached a political agreement to move to a circular economy. It is an international standard setter for chemical risk assessment. However, municipal waste generation remains the highest in the OECD area. Many bodies of water do not reach good ecological status. Levels of exposure to fine particles remain above international standards. Terrestrial biodiversity suffers from the lack of well-connected protected areas. Further steps will need to be taken to achieve the stated goal of a climate neutral economy by 2050.

This is the third Environmental Performance Review of Denmark. It evaluates progress towards sustainable development and green growth, with special features on waste, materials management and the circular economy and chemicals management.

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Waste, materials management and the circular economy

Denmark has long been an OECD leader in using incineration with energy recovery to reduce the amount of waste landfilled. Nevertheless, increasing household waste recycling and implementing meaningful waste prevention measures to address very high levels of waste generation are still major challenges. A new national strategy for circular economy, adopted in September 2018, and the subsequent political agreement aim to provide new impetus for alternative business models that put resource efficiency, waste prevention and recycling at the heart of production and consumption. This chapter gives an overview of trends in material use and waste generation, and of related policies. It reviews the effectiveness of instruments used to encourage waste prevention, reduction and recycling, and identifies implementation gaps and opportunities in moving towards a circular economy.

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