Where does our trash go?


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"A Second Chance"

“Can you see the lights out in that field? I work there” , my grandmother Apung Elena used to say every time we passed by that field while pointing quickly at the lights from a long distance.


"Yes Apu, they look like big balloons at night". The lights can be seen from afar amidst the dark skies from the high-way in Balibago, specifically near the “salakot” (giant hat-like shed). I was a little girl and not more than seven years old. I remember my grandmother was working at a vaskeri (laundry department) in one of the companies in Clark that time. One day, she came home with a used, big, industrial washing machine from her workplace and it served us its purpose for many years.


I personally prefer handwashing my clothes. Back in the Philippines I use Perla laundry soap and it didn’t hurt my hands and my skin. I believe that up to this date, many still prefer the traditional way of washing clothes or maybe because some just need tender loving care. ;)



Having an automatic washing machine has made our lives easier. Just one or two presses at the digital screen, then in an hour or two you have clean clothes. Most washing machines have multiple washing programs to cope up with the washing instructions of our clothes, even for the delicate ones. Today there are around 3,000 washing machines “hvidevarer” that are being thrown away  in Denmark alone, both to the recycling stations and to the companies who take used domestic goods, according to Miljøstyrelsen. I could imagine that these would be greatly appreciated in some developing countries like the Philippines. It takes a lot of resources to make a new one and some parts of whitewares have chemicals that are not good for the environment. We call them Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). In general, these whitewares have a 5 to 10-year warranty on their main motor and still, some people would rather buy a new one instead of calling the service provider for repair (which in theory should be free or at least should not cost you a lot of money).


What others have taken for granted, others do find worth in it.



De Grønne Hvidevarer


The idea is to save all the parts that can still be used from used large and heavy-duty domestic goods like a washing machine. This is mainly applicable to those machines that were disposed of earlier or under the warranty period given by the manufacturer. Tommy Blaabjerg, the man behind the De Grønne Hvidevarer (The Green Whitewares) has been dedicating his time together with his wife Evelyn in fulfilling the concept of sustainability into a practical reality. The concept has been backed-up by the municipality and participating authorities, universities, business entrepreneurs and private organizations have been supporting the project in terms of preparation for recycling and consumer rights like providing warranty to the customers for purchasing second-hand whitewares. De Grønne Hvidevarer has been in the market since September 2018 and is gaining attention to the public. A case study has been conducted in connection to sustainability as a big national project and the company was chosen to be one of the main subjects together with Aalborg renovation and El Retur in 2019. It involves all the relevant participants from public to private sectors.

Probably the most frequently asked questions to DGH.

  1. Why do you think some people are throwing away their whitewares instead of having them repaired (in Denmark specifically)? Is it the cost of repair or limited knowledge about companies who repairs whitewares?

            There are at least 4 factors to consider here.

  • Spareparts. What do you need and how old is the machine? Some spare parts are not available anymore in the market (if your machine is 15-20 years old for example) Some spare parts like electronic boards often cost a lot.

  • Skills. Are you capable of fixing it or do you know somebody? Fix work is not cheap either if you will ask a company to do it for you, however they do give warranty for the repaired part.

  • Is it urgent? A family with 2 kids or more and perhaps both parents go to work, they would rather buy a new one because it is more convenient for them.

  • Maintenance. Some machines lose their optimal use because of lack of maintenance. No matter how good the machine is (brand new or refurbished, well known brand or not) If the maintenance is poor, problems can occur at any moment.

Blockage at the bottom and top filter of the dryer can minimize the dry effect. The dryer vent is (more or less) blocked and because of that, the air flow will find other ways than through the filter and that causes excess lint to build up inside the machine and around critical components which overtime will have a mechanical and electrical faulty impact – slow domino effect.

Local Appliance Company Repairs are known in Denmark.

The new concept is the refurbishing of thrown away appliances like washing machines, dryers etc.

2. Where do you normally find used whitewares? 

DGH has a cooperation with El-Retur and through different municipalities’ recycling stations (Aalborg, Aabybro, Hobro, Rebild, Horsens, Aarhus) and El-Salg Aalborg.

3. What advice can you give to those who are purchasing second hand whitewares? Are brand names really stands for quality when it comes to whitewares?

When buying pre-loved appliances, consider the length of the warranty and the company’s reputation. There are brands that stand out. Usually there is a connection between the price and the quality but not always. Check the overall condition -physical and specifications of the unit (energy class, capacity, functions).


DGH takes part in achieving five of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

Responsible consumption and production (12), Climate Action (13), Partnerships for the goals (17), Decent work and economic growth (8), Sustainable cities and communities (11)

Helpful Links

De Grønne Hvidevarer



Elretur (Electronic Return)



Miljøstyrelsen (The Danish Environmental Protection Agency)



United Nations (The 17 Sustainable Development Goals)



Note: You are welcome to write to me for the free full version PDF Copy. 


Sheree Ann Kratmann Indiongco

Blooming Etiquette - Culture, Technology and Green Environment

Visit my homepage: www.shereeann.dk


for work-related or collaboration, send an e-mail to me 



Published date: July 28, 2021

Viborg, Denmark



Read more about Von Wong. A viral photographer and social influencer with focus on environmental impacts.


Do you know where our trash go? Are you aware that every person produces more or less 4 pounds of trash everyday? Half of which includes electronic waste, old clothes, (old) newspaper, food waste and chemical-related waste? 

I must admit that I was not as concern about recycling as much as I do today. I remember that my mother and her long-time partner invested on recycling papers, cartons and metals for a living. They used to go around local supermarkets collecting carton boxes and office waste mainly papers and some newspapers. 2 pounds of old newspaper would cost around 5 to 6 pesos as I recall 10 years ago. We learned to segregate our trash at home and during my spare time, I used to remove the metal clam clips.  

Today, at the age of 32, it bothers my conscience if I did not segregate the waste properly at home like the daily compost and plastic. All categories of waste falls under everything we have at home/takes home. Most of the time, waste comes from food packaging, compost (greens/vegetable or fruit peels) or anything that is biodegrable goes directly to the garden as a fertilizer for the plants/earth. The municipality supports and helps the community i making the waste as little as possible and sometimes providing additional trash bins to make it easy for us. 

You see the five-peso coin on top is gold to those who lives in the Smokey Mountain in the Philippines. You can read more about the history of the once upon a time was a miserable/dumping site place here. For the people who resided and were born there, the most practical way to earn a little amount of money is to segregate garbage and sell them to the junk shops. Junk shop is similar to a recycling center of other countries. The only difference is that most of them are privately owned as a form of business. In Denmark, we call it Genbrugsplads "recycling center", which is also privately owned, but the it is also the state's responsibility to ensure the continuous good business relationship between the private companies and recycling centers in collecting waste/junk. You can deliver all sorts of unwanted wastes you have at home (paper, carton, plastic, ceramic, glass, foam, wood, metal, electronic devices, batteries, burnable and hazardous wastes. It is almost from A-Z! 

Recently, I have read about e-waste, also knowns as waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). It was published by PROSA magazine, released on August 2018. PROSA is a modern trade union and professional interest organisation, dedicated exclusively to serving the interest of IT professionals. WEEE is non-biodegradable and mostly contains heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and aluminum that has hazardous effects to the environment. In general, e-waste is sent to Africa and in many asian countries where they repair, upgrade if possible and re-sell it after. I can still recall my first bought compact VCD/DVD player at an auction house of second-hand imported appliances in our town in the Philippines, to which I have paid for 1500 pesos, way back in 2013. 

What does a five-peso coin could do for you on a daily basis? It could also be $5, £5, €5 or 5 danish kroners.

In my case, the "pant" as we call it here can be seen at the bottom of the packaging of the empty bottle/can or plastic glass makes me earn extra coins that could be used to buy a piece of croissant, donate to somebody who sings and plays a guitar in the walking street of Copenhagen, or save it for later. You would definitely find a tin can or a bottle with pant everytime you go out of the house.


Helpful links:






or simply check out this link as a summary of the documents that may be useful for you.




Sheree Ann Kratmann Indiongco

Blooming Etiquette


Photo credits of Lester Ledesma.