Copenhagen offers tourists cash rewards for picking up trash

The Copenhagen Tourist Board has announced that tourists will be rewarded with free meals and activities if they take part in environmentally friendly activities during their stay in Copenhagen.

The trial scheme, which begins on July 15, will offer rewards in tourist areas of the Danish capital for activities such as picking up litter, traveling on public transport or cycling around the city.

The initiative allows visitors to claim a free lunch, coffee, glass of wine and kayak rental in return for their work.

of “CopenPay” scheme According to Copenhagen Tourist Board, the plan aims to offset the “environmental impact” of tourism.

“When you travel internationally, whether you fly to another place or travel by car, you cause pollution,” says Ricke Holm-Petersen, the tourism board’s communications director.

“One of the things we can change is getting people to behave more sustainably in our destinations.”

Petersen acknowledges that the plan is only a “small step towards a green transition”.

The project is “trust-based”, meaning attractions are unlikely to require proof that environmentally friendly activities have been completed: “Some attractions may require you to show a photo of you riding a bike or a public transport pass,” she says.

The government is not paying compensation to the companies behind the attractions – museums, rooftop bars and kayaking charities – that have taken part in the scheme. So far 24 organisations have signed up to take part in the pilot programme.

More than 12 million overnight stays were recorded across Denmark last year, according to government statistics.

Petersen said he expected a “very small percentage” of tourists visiting the city to take part in the trial, which runs until August 11.

Ossie Jasper, a 25-year-old Londoner who is going to Copenhagen for work in August, said she’s “conscious” about air miles when traveling: “They really add up, so you have to think about whether they’re essential or worth it. Of all the things a person can do, flying is probably the worst thing for air pollution.”

“It’s great to do something for the climate,” he says of the plan, but he’s unlikely to spend his time picking up trash in exchange for payment.

“In terms of incentives, it seems like it could use a little work.”

If the plan is deemed successful, it will be rolled out over the remainder of the year.

“It would be great if people could take home an environmentally friendly mindset as a souvenir,” Petersen says.


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