UK to adopt Norwegian bottle recycling scheme

07 February 2018

In the light of the UK’s current plastic crisis our country is producing, government advisers are introducing the possibility of adopting the Norwegian deposit-based system for recycling plastic bottles. A million plastic bottles are brought around the world every minute, increasing by another 20% by 2021. The average UK household purchases 480 plastic bottles but only recycles 270, this means that 44% aren't recycled per household - this builds up quickly! 

The recycling system is called ‘panteordning’ in Norwegian, and the scheme consists of a consumer purchasing their bottled drinks with an additional charge of tax, this is then paid back when the empty bottle is returned and scanned by a self-service device that produces a coupon for the deposit you paid for. The deposit on bottles with be equivalent of 10p to 25p depending on the size, although if you leave liquid in the bottle the store will receive your deposit coupon as they will need to empty the bottle. The self-service devices will be found in supermarkets across the UK, and the collected bottles will be taken to a local recycling centre to be disposed of correctly. 

Government advisers state the Scandinavian scheme has dramatically reduced plastic litter in Norway’s environment, rivers and seas. Kjell Olav Maldum, chief executive of Infinitum which runs the Norway bottle scheme states “There are other recycling schemes, but we believe ours is the most cost-efficient. We think it could be copied in the UK - or anywhere. Our principle is that if drinks firms can get bottles to shops to sell their products, they can also collect those same bottles.” 

The scheme has already received a lot of positive feedback from the public on social media, which shows that people are willing to be more environmentally friendly and protect our planet. With the introduction of the UK government’s 25 Year Environment Plan committed to achieving zero avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042, this scheme seems ideal to help kickstart a more eco-friendly country. 

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