Norway has created one of the “most efficient and environmentally friendly ways” of recycling plastic bottles, by incentivising recycling.
Norway’s model is based on a loan scheme, which means when a consumer buys a plastic bottle, they are charged a small additional fee equivalent to about 13 to 30 US cents. This fee can be returned for a deposit, or to small shops and gas stations for cash or store credit.
The scheme has allowed Norway to recycle 97 percent of all its plastic bottles, with less than one percent ending up in the environment.
Around 92 percent of the bottles recycled yield such high quality material, it can be used again in drink bottles. In some cases, the system has already reused the same material more than 50 times.
Kjell Olav Maldum, chief executive of Infinitum – the organisation which runs Norway’s deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and cans, told The Guardian: “It is a system that works,” he says as another truck rumbles past. “It could be used in the UK, I think lots of countries could learn from it.”
“It is a system that puts the emphasis on the producer to pay for and devise a system that works. We think we have come up with the most efficient and environmentally friendly system anywhere in the world.”
“We want to get to the point where people realise they are buying the product but just borrowing the packaging.”
Since devising scheme, Infinitum Infinitum has been visited by representatives from many countries – including Scotland, India, China, Australia and others – all of whom are interested in following the nation’s lead.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about sustainable lifestyle and green living for publications, and offers content services to planet-friendly businesses. Find out more at Rosamedea.com