Well-known for being a bike friendly city, I had an image that Copenhagen is one of the leading cities for sustainability.
It is consistently named as one of the greenest cities by the European Commission, and it aims to become the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025.
But what is the true experience?
Below, I list some of the things I found that highlight Copenhagen’s reputation as a green city.
The most visible evidence of eco-friendliness that can be seen in Copenhagen is the mass cyclers, regardless of the cold winter winds or rain.
In Edinburgh, we also recycle. However, the trash is sorted more specifically in Copenhagen, and it feels to me that people take it more seriously here. We also have a special biodegradable bag for organic waste, which I did not experience in Edinburgh.
In Copenhagen, organic food does not have the “luxury” label that may be attached elsewhere. Organic food is affordable and the norm, rather than an inaccessible luxury.
Copenhagen makes great use of its windy climate by stationing numerous wind turbines close to the city. The municipality heavily invests in the energy solution and wind power is expected to play an important role in the city’s goal for carbon neutrality.
Going to flea markets in Copenhagen are one of my favourite ways to spend my weekend, and there are usually at least one or more held somewhere in the city every weekend. Contrary to the flea markets I have known elsewhere, the stall holders are often young and fashionable, with good quality clothes for low prices. The markets are not only limited to clothing though, and there is a culture of reusing and giving in the community.
Since coming to Copenhagen, I discovered many choices for being sustainable with food. For example, Foodsharing Copenhagen rescues unsold food from supermarkets and bakeries which would otherwise be thrown out. The food is regularly given out few times a week in central locations. In addition, there are stores dedicated to similar foods for cheaper prices, such as WeFood.
There are options for dining cheaply and sustainably through community kitchens (“fællesspisning”). For example, Absalon hosts dinners every day for only 50 KR (£5.7). Onebowl works by a pay-as-much-as-you-can policy. Cooking together is more sustainable, and these community kitchens often use seasonal and local produce, or even unsold foods. What I found interesting is that there seems to be no stigma attached to going to community kitchens; it is not only for the homeless or less fortunate. It is also common to gather with your friends to cook, and people in my accommodation also cook together once a week.