Bornholm is a small island located in the middle of the Baltic Sea and is part of Denmark. With a population of just 40,000 people, it has managed to achieve the title of being the most sustainable island in Europe, awarded by the European Union. Despite its small size, Bornholm’s success in becoming the greenest island in Europe attracts visitors from all around the world who are eager to learn from their achievements and mistakes.
A Journey to Sustainability
Bornholm’s journey towards sustainability began as a response to a struggling economy. The island, which was never rich, relied heavily on farming, fishing, and tourism as its primary sources of income. However, when the fish population started to dwindle and tourism was no longer enough to sustain the economy, Bornholm needed a new plan. The plan was to become more independent from the mainland, save money in the long run, and bring more people to the island either as tourists or residents.
The first step in Bornholm’s journey towards sustainability was reducing waste. Islands face a common problem of waste piling up quickly, which can be expensive to ship out. This was especially true for Bornholm, which was heavily polluted with plastic and other trash, much of which was burned on the island. However, things have changed since then.
Today, residents are required to sort their household waste into six different categories and the waste management company has plans to increase that number to twelve. The waste at the recycling center is divided into 40 categories to make recycling more efficient. Residents have welcomed the changes and now understand that sorting their waste is not just a chore but also a way to conserve resources.
Businesses on Bornholm also recycle their own waste, reducing the amount that needs to be shipped out. Once separated, the waste is shipped to neighboring Sweden to be recycled. The recycling center is also open to the public, who can come and take whatever they need before it even needs to be recycled.
Bornholm’s journey towards sustainability is not limited to waste reduction. The island is also focused on producing all its energy from renewable sources. They have successfully transitioned from relying on non-renewable energy sources to using clean and renewable sources like wind, solar, and biogas.
Reviving the Economy
Bornholm’s transition towards sustainability has not only helped to protect the environment but has also had a positive impact on the island’s economy. By becoming more independent from the mainland, Bornholm has been able to save money in the long run and attract more people to the island, either as tourists or residents. The island’s economy has seen a boost, and its residents now have a more stable source of income.
Bornholm’s journey towards sustainability serves as an inspiration to other regions around the world. The island has successfully reduced waste, produced all its energy from renewable sources, and revived its struggling economy. While Bornholm is small, its success has attracted visitors from all around the world who are eager to learn from its achievements and mistakes. By continuing to focus on sustainability, Bornholm has the potential to maintain its status as the greenest island in Europe and serve as a model for other regions to follow.