Collecting trash in Copenhagen and presenting WHY PLASTIC? -  Ren Havn 2020

August 17, 2020

Photo by
Daiana Contini
Alberica Rindi

A refrigerator, a car window and plenty of plastic bags, cups, cans, and trays. All these items were part of the 120 kg trash pile collected from the canals in Copenhagen this Sunday, the 16th of August, during the 2020 Ren Havn (from the Danish, “clean harbour”). The event was the first occasion in which we presented to the public the documentaries of our newest campaign, WHY PLASTIC?.

Thought of as an opportunity to raise awareness about plastic pollution, the afternoon was hosted by THE WHY, Kayak Bar, Kayak Republic, Green Kayak, GoMore and Goboat. Each of the organisations involved contributed with kayaks used to pick up the trash, guides, an amazing location, a floating car, live music and delicious local food and beers. THE WHY started the day by presenting the WHY PLASTIC? campaign and the investigative documentaries we are working on:

·      The Recycling Lie, an insight into legal and illegal plastic import and export in the EU and the USA and the organised crime behind it.

·      We, the Guinea Pigs, revealing how the plastic that we keep ingesting through food, water and through the air we breathe is affecting our health, in particular our fertility and children's development.

·      American plastic, uncovering the profits in the plastic industry and the greenwashing, astroturfing and lobbyism enacted to keep the status quo.

While our documentaries are still work in progress, we decided to set focus on plastic waste in our waters. During Ren Havn, 80 volunteers and 6 guides kayaked under the warm sun. Three different routes were used to kayak around Copenhagen. For two hours the volunteers explored the city's waterways, bays, and canals filling up baskets with waste, until the total pile reached the total weight of 120 kg.


Trash collected with the kayaks during the event. Photo: Kvitka Perehinets

Once back on the shore, individually or in teams, people were asked questions about plastic and pollution as part of WHY PLASTIC? Quiz! By questioning themselves, the participants were able to discover that a lot of information about plastic in health, economical and environmental matters is covered up. The activity also highlighted how the topic is usually mystified and simplified, and helped adding context, layers and complexity to plastic that, in fact, is one of the greatest environmental issues of our time.

By sharing the knowledge with the event attendees, THE WHY hopes people will feel inspired to acquire more information, share the knowledge gained and continue to ask WHY PLASTIC?

Kajsa Rosenblad, WHY PLASTIC?'s research coordinator, presented the campaign at the event. Photo: Daiana Contini


The WHY PLASTIC? Quiz is still on for the next week and you can participate by answering the questions online via this link. The winners will win tickets to our documentary screenings as soon as they are out!

Stay tuned for our next WHY PLASTIC? event by signing up to the campaign newsletter here.

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