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Could the UK adopt strict Norway plastic bottle recycling system?

NWG Managing Director Blog

In a recent article featured in the Independent, it was reported that Norway’s industry-led scheme had resulted in an increase of plastic bottle recycling of 97 per cent!

This figure is pretty outstanding when you consider that in the UK the proportion of plastic bottles currently recycled is estimated at 50 per cent.

In addition to this poor percentage of recycled plastic bottles, the problem in the UK is expected to worsen with the build up of plastic after China announced at the beginning of this year it would stop accepting foreign waste.

It was reported that after visiting Norway in which Government advisers investigated the country’s industry-led scheme, there are now talks taking place that will point at Norway’s method as an example of an effective solution to the problem which the UK could adopt.

Interested to learn more about the scheme I headed over to youtube and found a video report from Sky News…

It’s a similar concept to the glass bottle deposit systems that used to function across Europe, including in Britain, but as plastic bottles became more common, many countries stopped the deposit system, but in Norway it was transferred to plastic bottles.

Consumers pay a small additional charge on each bottle they buy. When the bottle is returned either to the shop or a recycling machine, the deposit is refunded.

A charge of 1 Norwegian Kroner (9p) is applied to each standard 500ml bottle, and a 2.5 Kroner deposit (23p) for larger bottles.

The takeaway I found from both the video report and article is this, “where waste has value there is less litter”.

An example of this can be evidenced through the 5p charge of plastic bags.

According to the Marine Conservation Society’s annual Great British Beach Clean report, there were 11 plastic bags per 100 metres of coastline cleaned in 2015, on average. In 2016 however, there was just under seven, which is a decrease of almost 40% and the lowest number in the past 10 years.

The Norwegian method of encouraging recycling is believed to be one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of reducing plastic waste.

Northern Waste Group are fully behind the Norwegian method and are among some of the UK’s leading recycling facilities that have the capability to support the UK in a similar Government backed scheme.


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