The chemical composition of Danish household waste was determined by two approaches: a direct method where the chemical composition (61 substances) of 48 material fractions was determined after hand sorting of about 20 tonnes of waste collected from 2200 households; and an indirect method where batches of 80-1200 tonnes of unsorted household waste was incinerated and the content of the waste determined from the content of the outputs from the incinerator. The indirect method is believed to better represent the small but highly contaminated material fractions (e,g., batteries) than the direct method, because of the larger quantities included and the more homogenous material to sample from. Differences between the direct and the direct methods led to corrections in the of heavy metal concentration of a few fractions. The majority of the energy content of the waste originates from organic waste like paper, cardboard anti organic fractions. The single fraction contributing most to the total energy content is the non-recyclable plastic fraction, contributing 21% of the energy content and 60% of the chlorine content, although this fraction comprises less than 7% by weight. Heavy metals originate mainly from inert fractions, primarily batteries.