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Norway setting the standard for plastic bottle recycling

Date: 04-Mar-19
Author: Liam Taylor

Norway has set a high bar for what should be described as successful plastic recycling. Image: Pexels © Pexels

Norway has set a high bar for what should be described as successful plastic recycling. Image: Pexels

A Norwegian plastic recycling company based has achieved an incredible 97 percent recycling rate of plastic bottles. Even more impressive, around 92% of the plastic in these bottles is processed to such a high standard that it can be used to make more bottles.

The Oslo-based organisation, Infinitum, and it aims to create a never-ending loop of plastic reuse such that there is zero reason to produce new plastics. And they are already closing in on achieving that lofty goal, with some plastic in the system having been recycled more than 50 times already.

“We are the world’s most efficient [plastic recycling] system,” Sten Nerland, director of logistics and operations, told Positive News.

“As an environmental company you might think we should try to avoid plastic, but if you treat it efficiently and recycle it, plastic is one of the best products to use: light, malleable and it’s cheap.”

The company is backed by national policies that encourage efficient plastic recycling. The government has applied an environmental tax on all producers of plastic bottles, with the taxation rate dependent on how effectively they recycle their products. If they collectively recycle more than 95% of everything produced, companies can avoid the tax.

However, the government doesn’t just encourage good practice on the producer side. Consumers must pay a deposit for every bottle purchased, size dependent. This deposit is only returned once the container is returned either to a collection point or over the counter where it was purchased.

“It is a system that puts the emphasis on the producer to pay for and devise a system that works,” Infinitum CEO Kjell Olav Maldum told The Guardian.

“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.”


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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.

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