Copenhagen to Incentivize Tourists to Pick Up Trash

4-week test will reward those who do so with free wine, kayak rentals
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2024 10:25 AM CDT
Copenhagen to Incentivize Tourists to Pick Up Trash
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Bigwig Photography - Nertila Arifi)

Picking up trash is rarely on one's vacation to-do list, but travelers to Copenhagen will soon be incentivized to do so. The BBC reports the Danish capital plans to up its green reputation by rewarding tourists who do things like collect litter or travel around the city using bikes or public transportation. As part of the "CopenPay" test, which runs from July 15 to August 11, tourists can get free lunch, coffee, glasses of wine, or kayak rentals in exchange for participating in those sustainable activities. More:

  • Honor system: The two dozen museums, bars, and other organizations participating aren't getting reimbursed by the government, and tourists in many cases won't have to supply proof that they did the green activity.
  • More on the activities: Some of the participating locations are linking the green behavior with the reward. For instance, the Washington Post reports tourists who volunteer at the Oens Have urban garden will receive a free vegetarian meal; the New York Times reports that surfers who tack 30 minutes of beach cleanup to the end of their course at Copenhagen Surf School will also get a free lunch.
  • From the city's tourist board: "When you travel abroad—if you fly to other places or you travel by car—you pollute," the head of the agency says, per the BBC. "One of the things we can change is getting people to act more sustainably at the destination."
  • By the numbers: Copenhagen racked up more than 12 million overnight stays in 2023, but it has plenty of bikes to go around. NBC News reports the city is home to about 600,000 people and 750,000 bikes.
  • A bit of economic relief: Denmark's 25% value-added tax makes it a pricey place to visit, with NBC News noting "the scheme may ... come as a [bit of financial] relief to tourists."
(More Copenhagen stories.)

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