UK Government Eyeing Norwegian Recycling System

Written by National, Science

Hei, folk! Hvordan har du det? Good to be back on Geordie land.

By now, I’m sure many of you have read the news that the government is contemplating the adoption of the Norwegian bottle recycling scheme (sometimes referred to as the Scandinavian scheme) in light of current plastic crisis in the UK. In order to better understand the recycling scheme, I have taken a short trip to Norway over the weekend on behalf of The Courier to interview a few local Norwegians.

Known as ‘Panteordning for flasker’ in Norway, the scheme works in similar fashion as the Deposit Return Scheme that was once in place to encourage glass bottle recycling across Europe and in UK. Under the scheme, additional surcharge (charges range between 10p to 25p equivalence depending on the size of the bottle) will be incurred on the consumer whenever bottled drinks are purchased. When the used bottles are returned to specialised self-service machines – which are easily found in most supermarkets – the surcharge will be refunded to the customers.

The scheme has been in placed in Norway since early 1990s and is partly funded by unclaimed deposits, and drinks manufacturers (who will enjoy tax reduction if they are voluntarily involved in the scheme). Recent official statistic has shown that the scheme has successfully recycled 97% of plastic bottles in Norway. Considering the fact that less than 50% of plastic bottles made it to the plastic waste recycling plants in the UK, we have to agree that the Scandinavian scheme is indeed simple yet extremely successful and effective.

The Norwegian scheme has successfully recycled of 97% of plastic bottles, while less than 50% of plastic bottles make it to recycling plants in the UK.

However, if UK were to adopt similar scheme, lots of money and time will have to first be invested in order to provide the specialised machines which are capable of recognising so many different types of bottles in the market. Hence, it might take a while before such a scheme will become as successful and effective across UK. While it might be expensive and time-consuming, considering the harm that is brought upon by plastic waste to the environment, this scheme is definitely worth investing in.

Before this scheme (or any similar scheme) is in place, I guess the best thing that we can do now is to try the 4Rs – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – to reduce plastic waste and save our dear mother Earth.

I hope to bring you all more exciting news next time. Until then, ha det bra!

Last modified: 16th February 2018

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