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Smart & Close — Circular Data Challenge

How can data-driven solutions contribute to a more circular society?

As the planet requires an urgent shift towards more sustainable societies, it is imperative that we focus on how to best utilize our resources. This approach can be seen through a global perspective; however, it also applies to our local communities and everyday lives.  With a solid and well-founded digital-data base, Danish municipalities possess great potential to develop intelligent circular solutions that could be subject to simple practices that could also be close and reachable to their citizens. 

That is why Smart and Close Circular Data Challenge seeks to provide Danish municipalities with the best circular solutions they can implement through the use of their internal data. As a participant in Smart & Close, you come up with an innovative and data-driven idea that could solve one of six specific challenges explained below. It is important that data is included in your idea. For example, data may come from surveys, registrations, sensors, users, or case-studies. Your idea could also be based on existing or thought the creation of future data sources. We encourage participants to familiarize themselves with the existing open data, available at Open Data DK.

Five finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas at our final event on the 10th of December. The two best ideas can choose to be rewarded with DKK 25,000 cash or a tailor-made mentoring program with Innofounder’s incubator.

2 x 25.000,- (vælg mellem penge præmie eller en mentrfoløb)
Circular Economy

Smart & Close åbner for indsendelse af ideer

Indsend idé

Smart & Close er åben for indsendelse af ideer.


Deadline for indsendelse af ideer. De indsendte ideer vurderes hvoraf 5 inviteres til at pitche under Gate21s Smart Cities konference i Albertslund 10. december.


5 ideer inviteres til at pitche deres ide foran juryen. De to bedste ideer vinder hovedpræmien på 25.000,- (mulighed for at vælge mellem kontantbeløb eller skræddersyet mentorforløb).

Erhvervsstyrelsen logo
Green Innovation Group
Danish Design Centre logo
Københavns Kommune
Vejle Kommune
Aarhus Kommune
Fanø Kommune
Billede 2

Seven specific challenges

We need your ideas and solutions addressing the following specific circular challenges. 

Challenge 1: How can we ensure a better waste separation?

Waste separation is a keystone when it comes to ensuring the recycling of our waste. With our current waste separation system, sorting waste starts when choosing which garbage bin or container you throw your waste into. In order to ensure efficient recycling process, waste must be as “clean” as possible, as food and other residual materials can damage the recycled material. (e.g it is difficult to recycle a pizza carton box if there are food leftovers). Hence, it is important to choose the right waste option when segregating garbage.

The better the waste is sorted, the more diverse trash containers are needed in spaces such as kitchens, backyards, or public spaces, and the more sorting is required by the citizens. In addition, many cities with high urban density, don’t have enough physical space to sort and separate all the waste thoroughly.

 There is no doubt about the great value citizens create when segregating the waste they produce, as many climate-damaging materials are sorted for recycling or reuse instead of being incinerated. However, in order to improve waste management, new technology and solutions for sorting, collecting and treating household waste may need to be introduced.

For example, in Copenhagen, all citizens must have access to waste sorting systems, including remote waste groups such as textiles and food containers made out of cardboard, however, those new sorting/collection solutions should not take up more physical space in the city – but rather, they should reduce the area containers occupy.

 Therefore, there is great potential in investigating how the use of data can help create circular solutions in the following areas:

How can we ensure better waste segregation systems that improve sorting and recycling process, and also contributes to reducing the physical space they take?

 Inspiration to available data sources: 

  • Affaldsanalyse (Aarhus Kommune) ("Data analysis from 10 buried waste containers")
    The information on this document complies an analysis on 10 buried/underground containers located in Århus, which represents a snapshot on how much and what type of waste is being generated the most. In addition, the data is generated every 7 days, as the containers get emptied once a week. The data includes: ID, household size, sorted waste type & registered quantities/ volume.
  • Affaldskurve i København
  • Restaffaldsanalysen 2016 (Københavns Kommune) ("Instruments and scenarios for increased recycling in Copenhagen")
    This document presents a study on the total recycling rates and the recycling of individual waste types in some Cities in Europe.The Copenhagen Municipality's Resource and Waste Plan 2018 aims to achieve 45% recycling of household waste in 2018 and the amount of waste incinerated in 2018 decreased by 20% compared to 2010.In addition, the  study has looked at both the total recycling rate of cities and the recycling of individual waste types. The study shows, that there is a connection between high recycling results and a structured bio-waste collection system. Finally, the survey indicates the intensive, well-sustained communication and education  result on high level of recycling levels.

Challenge 2: How can we reduce resource consumption in construction?

The construction field is inherently considered a resource-intensive area that accounts for a significant part of the world's resource consumption. However, only a small proportion of the materials from building activities are being recycled and reused today.

In addition, some materials such as concrete, not only take a great amount of resources to produce but also it is also very difficult to recycle. This is because it can be hard to distinguish what type of materials have been employed. For example: concrete, cement and sand are difficult to differentiate and hence re-purpose for a new cause, as a functional system for categorization doesn’t yet exist.

 In all new constructions, a large amount of data on the material composition of buildings is already compiled. This kind of material composition data has great potential for recycling processes, but it is not fully utilized and it doesn’t exist for older buildings. Therefore, there is great untapped potential in finding out how the use of data can help create circular solutions that reduce the use of resources in construction:

How can we reduce the resources used when constructing buildings and make sure less materials are wasted?

Inspiration to available data sources:

  • Udredning af teknologiske muligheder for at genbruge og genanvende beton (Miljøstyrelsen) (“Investigation of technological opportunities to recycle and recycle concrete”)
    Concrete represents a significant proportion of the total amount of construction waste in Denmark, and over 90% of the concrete waste is currently recycled.
    The current practice of recycling takes place at crushing and use of the concrete as unbound support layers in Danish roads, squares and for filling where the concrete replaces natural stable gravel material or soil.
    The report describes current practices for recycling concrete waste and it also examines alternative options for recycling and reusing concrete by looking at examples from both home and abroad. It also point the following conclusions: 
    - Amount of concrete waste. There is no precise estimate of how much concrete waste is generated each year in Denmark, as not all concrete waste is registered. Hence, the actual amount of concrete waste is estimated in the industry to be twice as large as the registered one, ie. about 2 million tonnes annually.
    Origin of concrete waste. The origin of the concrete waste is not always known and today there is no systematic separation of concrete waste streams with the same technical qualities.
    - The use of concrete waste. Concrete waste is crushed and mainly used as unbound support layer in roads and squares and as filling in major construction projects. 
    - Only a limited proportion is used in state roads. The use of crushed concrete as a supplement to new concrete does not occur in Denmark, but is more widespread in other countries.
    - Classification of concrete waste. There are no limits  for contaminated building and construction waste. Several actors see a need on being able to differentiate through diverse assessments the technological and environmental  possibilities for recycling and reusing of concrete. In addition, there is a clear need for transferring knowledge through the whole cement supply chain, in order to explore new potential ways of recycling or reusing cement.
  • Københavnerkortet (fx igangværende anlægsarbejder, Københavns Kommune) (“The Copenhagen Map (ongoing construction work, the City of Copenhagen)”
    This map shows in real time, the construction projects taking place in the city of Copenhagen.


Challenge 3: How can we make better use of public buildings?

A municipality is often responsible for a wide range of properties such as; town halls, schools, offices, libraries, swimming pools and many other buildings with a diverse types of facilities such as meeting rooms, kitchens, auditoriums etc. Many of these facilities are often unused for much of the day and on the weekends.

 Municipalities tend to use a lot of resources on e.g. heating and maintaining properties. However, there is a significant risk of waste when actively maintaining old buildings, as activities such as changing and adjusting temperature, in-door climate, and many other predictable and unpredictable factors, are not easy to regulate, and these spaces would be better utilised if they were in continuous use.  

Therefore, there is great potential in finding out how the use of data can help create circular solutions that utilize smarter municipal buildings:

How can the public make a better use of municipal buildings?

Inspiration to available data sources:


Challenge 4: How can we reduce the waste of energy and heat surplus?

There is a big difference between when most renewable energy is produced and when most electricity is consumed in Denmark. Danes use most electricity power between 17:00 and 20:00 hrs. Unfortunately, these time slots do not overlap with the time when solar cells deliver the most power.

The excess of energy/electricity from private solar cells is therefore most often fed back into the electricity grid and sold. Thanks to great advances in battery technology, it is becoming more and more common to set up batteries that can store the excess energy from solar cells. However, it is usually up to the individual household to set up a battery.

In many places in the industry, heat is a by-product of production. Although heat can be employed internally within the company or sold to the district heating system, it is rarely fully utilized.

Therefore, there is great potential in finding out how the use of data can help create circular solutions that can reduce the waste of energy and heat surplus.

How can we reduce the waste of energy and heat surplus?

 Inspiration to available data sources: 

  • Energi Data Service (Energinet) “Energy data service webpage”. Energi Data Service is a free and open data portal. Here, anyone can get data about the Danish energy system such as CO2 emissions and consumption and production data. Whether you are a consumer, entrepreneur, research scientist or business, Energi Data Service makes data available that allow you to broaden your understanding of the Danish energy system and develop new services to benefit society in general and the green transition). 
  • Solcelleanlæg (Aarhus Kommune)
  • Fiktiv bygningsmasse (Københavns Kommune) (“Fictional building stock report by Municipality of Copenhagen") 
    The data is based on theoretical hot data from SBI and the Danish Energy Agency, which are linked to all buildings in the City of Copenhagen. This means that the first level of mapping is about to be completed. It is therefore interesting to get outsiders' views on the data, as new ideas and solutions may come out of such an interaction.
    The report divided the data mapping into three different categories: 1. Location, 2. Heating and building information 3. Energy label. The categories ensure that the data retains credibility in relation to methods and results. E.g. Artillerivej could suddenly be located in Østerbro and a smaller garage could have a very large heat consumption.
  • Energiforbug (Københavns Kommune) ("Energy consumption by the Municipality of Copenhagen”) 
    The document shows how much energy use the buildings under the Municipality of Copenhagen. 


Challenge 5: How can we reduce the use of single-use plastic items?

It is not news that single-use products such as plastic cutlery, disposable cups and packaging, have a large number of negative consequences, such as pollution, separation and proliferation of microplastics that very regularly land on nature. 

More often than not, these products are used because it is the most convenient option for consumers. For example: many cups of coffee are served in single-use cups every day. This happens when you are on the go, but also in many workplaces, where employees don't have easy access to glass or porcelain dishes at their offices. 

However, there is great value in finding out how the use of data can help create circular solutions that reduce the consumption of single-use products:

 How can we reduce the use of single-use plastic items?

Inspiration to available data sources: 

  • Plastic Change (liste over udvalgte rapporter) Plastic Change has made a list of reports regarding plastic consumption and negative impact. Some of the reports suggest how to make plastic a circular solution. 
  • Restaffaldsanalysen 2016 (Københavns Kommune) (“Residual waste analysis 2016 conducted by the Municipality of Copenhagen”)
    The purpose of this study was to identify and assess instruments that can contribute to the collection of increased amounts of recyclable materials from household waste, corresponding to the 15,000 tonnes that a biowaste collection is expected to contribute.
  • Forsøg med indsamling af kartoner og pizzabakker (Københavns Kommune) (“Cardboard collection by the Municipality of Copenhagen” 
    Cases and experiments compilation regarding the collection of milk cartons and pizza cardboards. 
  • Engangsservice (Århus Kommune)  (“Single-use plastic products by Århus Municipality”)
    An annual report that specifically indicates the amount of single use plastic items the Municipality of Århus consumes each year. Yearly costs are also included. 


Challenge 6:  How can we avoid that materials surplus from production goes to waste?

When we talk about “material flow”, we refer to the goods that are transported from and to municipalities by different companies. Most of the time, it is very challenging for municipalities to keep an overview of how these material flows can be repurposed, due to the great amount of resources surplus companies end up with such as: wood, textiles, rubber, furniture; etc. 

In some places, the materials surplus is transported to a physical warehouse where they can be offered to the public, however, this approach can be time and resource consuming.

Therefore, there is great potential in finding out how the use of data can help create circular solutions that reduce the waste of material surplus from production:

How can we contribute to an easier redistribution system of materials surplus that can be more accessible to citizens and business? 

Inspiration to available data sources: 

  • Genbrugsstationer (Vejle Kommune) (“Recycling stations by the Municipality of Vejle”)
    This data displays the locations of the diverse recycling stations in the Municipality of Vejle, indicating addresses, opening hours, etc.
  • Modtagere af malingsrester (Frederiksberg Kommune) “Recipients of paint residue by the Municipality of Frederiksberg”
    The data contains a map of the actual paint stores that are currently receiving painting leftovers from people who have a surplus after making use of it.

Challenge 7: How can we create local anchored tourism while having responsible resource consumption at the Danish municipalities?

Tourism is one of the world's largest sectors, as the number of international tourists has been steadily increasing since 2010. Today, tourism is an important part of the Danish economy, since it significantly contributes to the growth of the hospitality industry across the country; however, the steady development has also ramped the consumption of resources.

Although international and Danish tourists tend to normally visit large cities, tourism allocated in less conventional places such as smaller Danish islands, have experienced great development in the past years. This trend has become problematic for locals as most of these “unspoiled places” are not equipped to cope with the heavy load of visitors during high seasons. The latter creates new demands to local areas, which have never had to deal with such a large wave of tourists before. Even though tourism is increasingly developing, there is also a growing concern for the conservation of nature and the environment, as local destinations find difficult to transmit it to the large numbers of incoming tourists.

Thus, there is a great circular potential in finding out how the use of data can help create locally rooted tourism that takes into account the environment, the economy and the socio-cultural conditions of the destination: 

How can we create local anchored tourism while having responsible resource consumption at the Danish municipalities?

Inspiration to available data sources: 

Billede 1


Indsendte ideer vurderes ud fra fire kriterier. De fem ideer, der vurderes at leve bedst op til udvælgelseskriterierne inviteres til at pitche deres ide for Smart & Close juryen d. 10. december i Albertslund. Juryen vil dernæst udvælge to vindere baseret på deres pitch.

Udvælgelseskriterierne er:

Hvilken værdi skaber ideen for borgere, virksomheder og samfundet? Ideens værdiskabelse vurderes ud fra mere end blot økonomisk værdi.

Hvordan skal ideen realiseres? Realiserbarhed er ikke et spørgsmål om, hvor nemt ideen kan realiseres, men i stedet at tage højde for hvordan ideen kan realiseres. Realiserbarhed hænger derfor også nært sammen med, i hvor høj grad der er taget stilling til adgangen til data.

Hvordan bidrager ideen til en øget cirkularitet i kommunen? Med dette menes der, i hvor høj grad ideen formår at fremme en mere cirkulær økonomi (se spørgsmålet 'Hvordan forstås cirkulær økonomi?'). 

Hvor nyskabende er ideen? Ideens innovationshøjde vurderes ud fra, i hvor høj grad ideen præsenterer en nytænkende tilgang til udfordringen.


Juryen for Smart & Close anonceres snarest. 


Hvem kan deltage?
Alle har som udgangspunkt mulighed for at deltage i Smart & Close. Det forventes at alle deltagere i konkurrencen har mulighed for fysisk at deltage i kåringseventet d. 10. december i Albertslund i forbindelse med Gate21 konferencen Smart City 2019.


Hvordan deltager man?
For at indsende en ide skal man først oprette en gratis bruger på, hvorefter man har mulighed for at indsende en idé til Smart & Close såvel som til andre challenges. Som led i idebeskrivelsen bedes man redegøre for:

  • Hvilken udfordring ideen løser
  • Hvordan ideen løser udfordringen
  • Hvilke data ideen bygger på (allerede eksisterende- og/eller nye data)
  • Hvordan ideen kan bidrage til øget cirkularitet
  • Hvem nøgleaktørerne er samt hvilken værdi og hvilke barrierer de hver især oplever
  • Hvilken værdi ideen skaber for borgere, virksomheder og samfund

Derudover opfordres deltagere til at vedlægge (valgfrit):

  • Link til video-pitch (maks. 2 minutter)
  • Billede af system map (se spørgsmålet ‘Hvad er en system mapping?’). 


Hvilke data kan man bruge?
Der er ingen krav til hvilken form for data, der indgår i løsningsforslaget. Som deltager opfordres man til at gå på opdagelse i de åbne danske dataregistre gennem Open Data DK, men det er ikke et krav at data allerede eksisterer eller har en særlig form. Kvalitative data, sensordata eller andre former for data kan også indgå i ideen.

Bemærk dog at tilgængeligheden af data indgår som led i vurderingen af ideens realiserbarhed (se spørgsmålet 'Hvad er udvælgelseskriterierne?').


Hvad er en system mapping?
System mapping er en visuel metode, der kan hjælpe med at kortlægge de vigtige aktører og forbindelser i et ‘system’. I Smart & Close kan ‘systemet’ ses som et kort over økosystemet omkring ideen; hvem bruger den, hvilke data bygger den på, hvori består det cirkulære etc. Ved at lave et visuelt kort over, hvordan de forskellige elementer hænger sammen, er det muligt at fremhæve systemets strømme (fx viden, penge, materialer eller data) og identificere svagheder og potentialer. Cirkulære løsninger bliver nemt komplekse, så et visuelt overblik kan ofte være til stor hjælp.

Dansk Design Center har udviklet et gratis system mapping værktøj kaldet “Data Ecosystem Mapping”, som man selv kan printe, klippe ud og anvende til opgaven. Når man arbejder med fysiske brikker, kan kortlægningen bruges som en udforskning af problemet og til at identificere potentielle løsninger. Arbejder man i grupper er kortlægningen af systemet et værdifuldt værktøj til at sikre, at alle forstår både problem og løsning på samme måde.

Data Ecosystem Mapping findes under bilag.

Cirkulær økonomi

Der er mange definitioner på cirkulær økonomi. Smart & Close lægger op til, at deltagerne forholder sig til Europa Parlamentets definition:

En cirkulær økonomi er en model for forbrug og produktion, hvor produkters livscyklus er udvidet, primært takket være:

  • Bedre miljøvenligt design, der gør det nemmere at reparere, genbruge og reproducere gamle produkter
  • Forbedret holdbarhed
  • Bedre affaldshåndtering
  • Nye forretningsmodeller baseret på leasing, deling, reparation og genbrug


Ideas for this challenge (31)

“No waste should ever go to waste!” er missionen for Wasteless. Som en del af et større økosystem har vi lavet en app, der vha. kunstig intelligens automatisk genkender affald i realtid og bl.a. vejleder borgerne i at sortere deres affald korrekt.

Tillad large scale research ved at analysere afvaskningsvand i svømmehaller.

Nordetect is a chemical analysis company that makes Lab-on-a-Chip sensors and software for agricultural and environmental testing. Our products help farm managers and agronomists make better decisions about fertilizer usage with in-field data.

To encourage everyone to play a part on recycling we will share the value of the material in the chain so everyone can earn. To achieve that, we developed a rewarding platform that creates the most powerful Big Data on Recycling

WeGrow is a circular system for increasing quality and longer shelf-life of leafy greens in homes. It reduces use of single packaging and food waste in the households. The aim is to provide still alive, leafy plants in returnable vases.

A digital platform for optimising the use of public space.

GigsGuide helps people find relevant live events and plan trips to see them. We use live music to help travellers discover new places, come closer to the people at their destinations and support the local music scene.

Udfordring 5 - Hvordan kan man lokalt nedbringe brugen af single-use produkter?

Kortlæggelse af udfordringen
Single-use produkter gør det muligt at emballere og transportere de forbrugsvarer, vi benytter uden besværet med at bekymre os om at transportere og rengøre selve emballagen efter brug. Det har gjort mange ting nemt, men også efterladt uanede mængder materialer til genanvendelse eller forbrænding efter bare én enkelt brug.I nogle sammenhænge er forbruget af single-use produkter stort selv når behovet for transport er begrænset.

Et datadrevet værktøj til kommuner og borgere i form af en digitaliseret brugerplatform, der er designet til at engagere, uddanne og motivere borgere, lokale virksomheder og institutioner.

For at øge genanvendelsen er der behov for disruption af affalds- og byggebranchen, hvor genanvendelse af byggematerialer pt. afhænger næsten udelukkende af timing og netværk.
Der er brug for en landsdækkende materialebank - nemlig

ShareOne er en deleøkonomisk markedsplads. Vi forsøger at få private til at leje det de mangler frem for at købe det. Det skåner miljøet og skaber et nyt naboskab. Udlejer har primært været private men vi forsøger nu at få virksomheder til at deltage

En mærkningsordning for al emballage, der dels har en farvekode, der hjælper borgere med at sortere affaldet korrekt, og dels indeholde information om emballagens materiale, der gør det nemt at automatisere finsorteringen på genbrugsstationerne.

Nuværende måder at guide borgere til at sortere affald er kedelige, besværlige og uoverskuelige. Vi vil give borgere en personlig sorteringsguide på baggrund af deres digitale kvitteringer og deres lokation, og derigennem forbedre affaldssorteringen.

Bank of Materials er verdens grønneste investeringsbank. Vi investerer overskudsmateriale fra produktionsvirksomheder i kreative projekter.

Forsyninger over hele verden bruger masser af penge, CO2 udledende beton og energi på pumper - fordi de centraliserer deres spildevandstruktur for at skabe kritisk masse til energi og CØ. Vi skal en anden vej mod lokal blockchain løsninger.

Eachthing vil vi hjælpe forbrugere med at forstå hvordan og hvorfor de skal affaldssortere. Forbrugere kan scanne produkters stregkode, og på den digitale label kan de se, hvordan det skal sorteres, og hvilket impact det har når gjort rigtigt.

Flacon udvikler bæredygtig og cirkulære services for genbrug af emballage til sæbeprodukter som et alternativ til engangsplast. Vi vil tilbyde kommuner en hundrede procent cirkulær refill løsning til deres mange sæbe- og disinfektions dispensere.

We are contributing for challenge 1: How can we ensure a better waste separation?

Waste separation requires different waste containers, which occupy too much space. The management of which could be more efficient. 

Med Deep Dive kommer vi med et bud på, hvordan vi udnytter kommunens bygninger smartere (udfordring 3). Da der er stor forskel på de offentlige bygninger og dermed mulighederne for alternativ brug, har vi fokuseret på et ofte overset særligt rum - nemlig, svømmehallen.

The problem is that the municipality has a lot of waste and surplus material that could generate social and monetary value for the municipality, citizens and businesses.  

The surplus of material or waste generated at the municipality needs to collected into a data set.  The data would need to be generated by the municipality. The data set can then be connected and supported by sorting into categories of material, longevity of use, flexibility of use etc. by internal or external staff that could also generate employment opportunities. 

Mad, der er uegnet til salg (tæt på bedst før eller ukurant), sælges til kommunen og tilberedes i offentlige køkkener og leveres til offentlige institutioner. Mad tilberedt udenfor aktive strømtimer og giver billig sund mad tilbage til fællesskaber

Stenmark et. al (2016) fastslår i en EU-rapport at 20% af den mad der produceres i EU, går til spilde - især husholdningerne genanvender ikke deres affald. Jeg har udviklet en idé til en app, der kan reducere husholdningernes spild.

De mange tons byggematerialer der skal anvendes skal kunne udbydes på en fælles platform for alle bygherrer i Danmark – på tværs af regioner og kommuner – hvor et nyt byggeprojekt kan opkøbe overskydende materialer fra færdige byggeprojekter.

Fællesskolen bruger eksisterende infrastruktur i kommunerne til at skabe nye fælles rum og giver mulighed for at borgere kan dyrke deres hobby.

Through the creation of an e-material bank, construction materials can be recycled and reused for new buildings

The platform Nebula connects unused public buildings to people that want to organize social events at minimal costs.
To avoid materials surplus from production going to waste and instead being reused, we suggest a Bidding platform functioning as library of surplus materials, closing the gap between B2B supply and demand material flows.