The Green Kayak is a non-profit environmental initiative that aims to reduce waste in aquatic environments by lending out free kayaks in return for the paddlers picking up marine debris on the trip.

Canal tour boats, well-preserved buildings, and marine debris. Those are some of the key sightings you can expect, while paddling through the Copenhagen canals. The Green Kayak Initiative has found a way to strike the third form the list. The non-profit company lends out kayaks to tourists and paddle enthusiasts, completely free of charge, if they in return promise to clean up every bit of debris they find on their way.

Apart from two locations in Copenhagen, the Green Kayak Initiative also operates in Aarhus, another Danish harbour city. Each of the locations has one kayak specifically designated for litter picking, with space for two people, a bucket, a net, and a trash grabbing tool. The kayaks are available for two hours at a time, and when the trip is over, the waste is weighed and written into the Green Kayaks folder to add to the more than 10,000kg waste collected since 2017. The good deed can then be documented and shared on social media, using the hashtag ‘miljøkajakken’ – the kayak’s Danish name, which directly translated means ‘the Environment Kayak’.

Why you should care

Copenhagen is a popular travel destination, and accumulates large amounts of debris, some of which ends up in the ocean. The Green Kayak Initiative provides water-adjacent cities with a solution that safeguards the ocean environment while providing citizens and tourists with a positive, and cleaner, experience of the city, in and out of the kayak.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Sustainable cities and communities

The Green Kayak Initiative is a sustainable waste management solution that has cleared 10,000kg of waste while offering tourists and citizens a fun and free experience.

Life under water

In 2017 more than 800 people volunteered and and picked up 3,500 kg from Copenhagen harbour via the Green Kayak, and thereby contributed to safeguarding marine life and environment.