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News From waste management to circular economy in Denmark: the case of Svaneke

From waste management to circular economy in Denmark: the case of Svaneke

The Danish island of Bornholm has a clear vision for the future: to switch off the incinerator by 2032 and to consider waste resources through reuse or recycling. SYMSITES plays a big part in reaching this goal, as it will encourage small communities to prevent and transform waste with local symbiosis (I-US).

The context of Svaneke

Svaneke will be the first town on the island to benefit from this transformation. Svaneke is located in the northeastern corner of Bornholm. Almost 1,100 people live here, but in the summer the numbers increase due to the presence of tourists and seasonal residents.
The town’s businesses reflect this seasonal variation. Like the rest of Bornholm, Svaneke has many potters and artisans shops. Some of them are only open in the summer. The waste streams therefore fluctuate greatly from one season to another. Fortunately, businesses like restaurants and places for residents are open all year, ensuring continuity to local symbioses.

The role of companies and local businesses

Creating a sustainable waste management strategy in Svaneke’s EcoSite involves the active participation of local businesses. There is a diverse range of companies in the city, from artisans and small shops to restaurants, farms and breweries.
They all receive different products for their activity, generate waste and, at the same time, have a resource flow. By identifying overlaps in their resource flows, new symbioses can emerge and the amount of waste can be limited.

Citizens engagement

The citizens of Svaneke also contribute to the symbioses. They are the ones building a sense of community and the willingness to cooperate for a cleaner town. Svaneke has many different leisure activities for all citizens every day. This creates a collective power and a potential for citizen involvement and local anchoring of local circular economy measures.

A zero-waste strategy built on local needs

Creating new symbioses means encouraging companies and citizens to collaborate with the municipality in exchanging waste and resources, creating mutually beneficial relationships. This will be done in an EcoSite developed with the SYMSITES project. The strategy involves many parameters to succeed and starts by mapping the resource flows to have a clear overview of what enters and comes out of the EcoSite.

The system is not the same everywhere because every city has different characteristics and needs. Svaneke unique combination of primary food production and shops for tourists presents both opportunities and challenges, particularly with the significant seasonal peaks in resource flows.

Here, companies and citizens who would like to participate can be local ambassadors and help the partners involved in sharing the message with other stakeholders in the city. Creating a solid foundation for symbioses is essential to ensure the initiative’s sustainability and encourage new action to foster a circular economy in Bornholm.