Free lunch, coffee and kayak rides to tourists who litter pick in Copenhagen

Denmark's capital has introduced a series of payment systems to reward visitors who do 'climate-friendly actions'.

Tourists visiting Copenhagen will soon be rewarded for helping to take care of the city, with treats including free lunches, kayak rides and ice cream.

Visitors can win prizes by pledging to use public transport, helping to maintain the city, working in urban gardens or committing to “sustainable behaviour” with the new CopenPay system.

On the Visit Copenhagen website it says: “The most significant rewards are not the ones you get for your efforts but the ones we all gain from your conscious choices.”

The following rewards are on offer for completing an array of activities:

  • A free vegetarian lunch for volunteering in an urban garden;
  • A glass of rosé and free rental of a set of pétanque balls;
  • A rubbish art class if you bring old plastics to the National Gallery;
  • A free ski down a grass dry slope if you arrive by bike or public transport;
  • A 2.5-hour windsurfing lesson and free lunch for cleaning the beach;
  • Free coffee and pastries for a session of ‘plogging’, which is term for picking up litter while you jog;
  • A free local ice cream – flavours include local rhubarb, strawberry and liquorice – if you ride to the National Museum by bike or by public transport.

The Danish capital’s official tourism organisation Wonderful Copenhagen specified that the initiative is not designed to increase tourism.

The purpose of CopenPay is “to encourage sustainable behaviour and enrich the cultural experience of visitors and residents in Copenhagen by transforming green actions into currency for cultural experiences”, Wonderful Copenhagen said.

Visitors arriving by bike or public transport can get extra skiing time on the city’s waste-to-energy ski slope. / Credit: Visit Copenhagen

“It is a core task for us to make travelling sustainable. And we will only succeed if we bridge the large gap between the visitors’ desire to act sustainably and their actual behaviour,” Mikkel Aarø-Hansen CEO at Wonderful Copenhagen said.

The system is based on trust, with visitors telling the authorities what good deeds they have done around the city.

“After all, the only one you would be cheating is yourself if you miss out on doing good for our planet,” Visit Copenhagen said.

CopenPay will launch on July 15 and run until August 11, with organisers hoping that it will become a year-round concept that will extend across the country.

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