Norway Now Recycles 97% Of Plastic Bottles, Making Other Nations Look Like Eco-Failures – Here’s How They Do it

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Norway Now Recycles 97% Of Plastic Bottles - Here's How They Do It
graphic – Images – PD

The world has a massive problem with plastic pollution. In just a few decades we have arrived at a truly despicable scenario where billions of plastic bottles now choke waterways and tarnish the landscape, killing animals and ending up in every corner of the globe – including back in the food we eat.

One nation however, leads the world by a massive margin in plastic bottle recycling: Norway. Thanks to a brilliant deposit-based system, the most effective and cost-efficient in the world, a fantastic 97% of bottles are recycled – almost 600 million in 2016 – leading to a massive reduction in the amount of plastic trash in the environment. [1]

Here’s how the elegant system works: A deposit equivalent to approximately 15 to 30 cents, (10p-25p in the UK) is added to the cost of the bottles, which have labeling that can be machine recognized. Supermarkets have machines that accept the bottles and give a ticket to the person delivering it, enabling them to collect their reward.

Bottles can be recycled numerous times and soft drinks producers are incentivized to join the system with tax breaks. Shopkeepers also get a small reward from the returns in addition to increased foot traffic.

This system is fully deployed and working at mass scale. There is no reason that it cannot be done everywhere. Norway has put other countries unacceptable pollution to shame.

Overview Of Plastic Pollution

Plastic production took off around 1950 and has been growing ever since. A study has found that by 2015, only 9% of the 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic that had been produced had been recycled – with global plastic production doubling approximately every 15 years. [2] Other developed nations such as the UK have stepped up their efforts, recycling around 50%. But this still leads to millions of tons of new waste adding to the problem.

While half of all the steel ever manufactured still being in use, half of all the plastic made will be trash within a year. This is of course an absolute environmental catastrophe. Much of this plastic will take hundreds of years to degrade – and in many cases this means that it will end up as microplastic particles, which now permeate the entire ocean, will be consumed by animals and fish and, yes, end up inside your body. So don’t think for one minute that this is a problem that can be made to go away.

Perhaps the video that brought the shock reality home the hardest was from National Geographic, who reported that 38 million pieces of plastic litter the beaches of Henderson Island, in the South Pacific, which is uninhabited. That’s just one small island. Can you imagine how much plastic trash is in the ocean?

The biggest problem is that items are created deliberately to be disposable and to have low value. When items have a significant monetary value, people will collect them and not discard them. It’s really very simple in principle. If all waste items were assigned a monetary value, people would even collect them from the streets! We can do this.

Our hats are off to Norway for their outstanding efforts. The UK is planning to adopt Norway’s bottle recycling scheme, with Scotland being reported to have made commitments to a deposit system. What do you think? Should this be adopted globally, as quickly as possible, in a monumental effort to save the natural world? Or should we just continue to trash the planet, leaving the problem for someone else to deal with?



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Norway Now Recycles 97% Of Plastic Bottles - Here's How They Do It
graphic – Images – PD

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