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Could Norway’s strict approach to plastic bottle recycling revolutionise the UK system?

Could Norway’s strict approach to plastic bottle recycling revolutionise the UK system?
Source: GormKallestad/NTBScanpix

The Norwegian approach to recycling could be key to reducing the number of bottles that end up in a landfill in the United Kingdom. How is your country dealing with plastic?

The UK ‘could adopt’ Norway’s bottle recycling system

A Norwegian deposit-based system for recycling bottles is thought likely to be adopted in the UK, reported the BBC last week. Advisers to the government say the schemes have massively reduced plastic litter in the environment and seas. A ministerial delegation visited Norway to see if the UK should copy an industry-led scheme that recycles 97% of bottles. In the United Kingdom, figures show that only around half of all plastic bottles get recycled. Norway claims to offer the most cost-efficient way of tackling plastic litter.

Has Norway found a way to deal with their plastic waste problem..? Similar schemes are in operation in other Nordic nations, Germany, and some states in the US and Canada. The managers of the Norway operation say it could easily be applied to the UK. Source: Facebook/BBC

UK likely to introduce deposit-based system similar to Norway’s

A recent Norwegian edition of The Local reports that a delegation from authorities in the United Kingdom recently visited Norway to learn about how plastic bottles are recycled in the Scandinavian country.

Also, the British national broadcaster, the BBC reported on Wednesday that the UK is likely to introduce the system used in Norway, known as ‘pant’. Environmental advisors from the British government are enthusiastic about the recycling model used in Scandinavia, including in Norway, saying that it significantly reduces plastic pollution of natural environments.

Official statistics found 97 percent of plastic bottles in Norway are recycled, although this includes bottles thrown out with refuse that is burned and used to power heating, according to a 2016 Aftenposten report — a less environmentally friendly practice than the reuse of the bottles returned through the pant system.

British government representatives visited Norway with a view to implementing the system, which has existed in Norway since 1992. The model is based on a small surcharge being paid on every bottle that is bought in Norway. The surcharge, or deposit, is paid back to consumers when bottles are returned via specialised machines, which are located at most supermarkets.

The same system is already used in neighbouring Sweden and Denmark, along with Germany and a number of US and Canadian states.

Kjell Olav Maldum, chief executive of Infinitum, which operates the system in Norway, told the BBC the he believed the model was optimal.

There are other recycling schemes, but we believe ours is the most cost-efficient," Maldum told BBC News."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," Maldum added.

Source: TheLocal.no

However, this figure includes bottles thrown out with refuse that is burned and used to power heating — a less environmentally friendly practice than the reuse of the bottles returned through the pant system.
According to official statistics 97% of plastic bottles in Norway are recycled However, this figure includes bottles thrown out with refuse that is burned and used to power heating — a less environmentally friendly practice than the reuse of the bottles returned through the pant system. Source: OlavOlsen/BrockfieldJohan
Ravi og Odd Børetzen - “Pant!” This recycling system is known as 'panteordning' (or just ‘pant’) in Norwegian. Here is a totally random Norwegian rap video about it. Source: YouTube/Greshh
Make an Impact

Ten Top Tips on How to Keep Plastic Out of the Waste Stream in the First Place

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