Waste sorting bins - an example of circular public procurement

How Copenhagen supports the use of old waste bins as a raw material input for new bins.

Photo shows a cargo bike in front of a building. The bike is filled with stacked soting bins in green, blue, and grey colours.
Distribution of new waste sorting bins using cargo bikes by Team OP and Trash Heroes Photo: Thea Birkemose Pallesen

One of the drivers for a viable circular plastics economy is increasing the demand for recycled raw material.

Therefore, Copenhagen's waste- and resource management plan includes an initiative that aims to spur the demand for recycled material in public procurement and to support the use of plastic waste from the City of Copenhagen in new production.

Old waste bins turned into new

When the Child and Youth Administration were to roll out source separated waste collection in public institutions throughout the city it meant that the administration needed a large quantity of plastic waste bins to substitute bins that had been used previously but no longer met the requirements.

This was seen as an opportunity to spur the demand for recycled content based on Copenhagen's own waste material. The tender for waste bins included a demand for the bins to be made from recycled material but facilitating the collections of the old bins ensured sourcing of post-consumer plastic that had a homogenous and known plastic composition.

A partnership between the waste bin producer PWS, the Technical and Environmental Administration and the Child and Youth Administration was set up to use the old bins in the production of new bins.

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The partnership covers collection of old bins which are washed, flaked and used as raw materials for the new bins. Distribution of the new bins are carried out on cargo bikes by participants in Team OP and Trash Heroes which resides under the Social Services Administration.

All in all, the partnership for facilitating demand for recycled plastic in public procurement is an example of cross disciplinary and cross sectorial collaboration to the benefit of the social and environmental agenda.


  • The initiative covers 99 primary schools, 263 after school care and 432 daycare centers.
  • In total 11 tons of plastic will be recycled into new waste bins.
  • The project runs from Jan22 to Dec23.
  • TeamOP (Team of People) is a project unit under the Center for Housing and Employment in Citizen Center Handicap. The unit works to develop meaningful work life for apprentices in the workplace by, among other things, supporting green projects. TeamOP carries out a range of important tasks for the City of Copenhagen – one of them being execution of the project Trash Heroes which is a part of the waste and resource management plan.
  • Trash Heroes distribute new indoor waste collection bins. The delivery is done on cargo bikes to make the transportation as environmentally friendly as possible.
  • One of Trash Heroes most important tasks is to secure a positive communication of the City of Copenhagen's goals for waste collection and sorting. Trash Heroes have a focus on establishing a dialogue with maintenance personnel, children and other citizens when delivering the new waste bins. Part of it being to listen and help get the new waste sorting routines well underway.


Malene Møhl

Special Consultant, plastic waste


+45 23 61 77 67