Fighting single-use plastics with an innovative bottle recycling scheme

    Each year, 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in oceans around the world, largely comprising waste from single-use plastics.

    Single-use plastics can have a devastating impact on ocean ecosystems, habitats and marine wildlife, and the issue has been highlighted by both the European Commission and member state governments as a key priority for environmental legislation.

    One way of tackling the problem of single-use plastics packaging is to ensure that it can be recycled. By ensuring that packaging is designed with minimal plastic, or that plastics used in products are biodegradable or recyclable, the amount of plastics waste entering oceans could be significantly reduced. However, this requires consumers to play their part in recycling plastic bottles after use, which in turn requires stakeholders to incentivise the general public to participate in recycling schemes.

    What is Infinitum’s solution?

    Founded in 1996, Infinitum AS is a Norwegian company which has developed a unique deposit-return scheme for cans and bottles that has transformed the recycling of single-use plastics in the country. The company has now recycled more than one billion empty cans and bottles, and has installed more than 3,700 deposit machines and 12,000 collection points throughout Norway.

    In this booklet, Infinitum details the history of its deposit-return scheme, and emphasises the benefits that it offers to Norway’s environmental ambitions. Further, with many countries around the world aiming to reduce waste from single-use plastics, the company’s solution could form a framework for countries aiming to make plastics more circular.

    Daniel Calleja Crespo, director general of DG Environment, explains how the EU aims to make plastics more circular as a means of both fulfilling its circular economy ambitions and meeting the challenge of plastic entering the ocean.

    Finally, Infinitum goes on to detail its aim to achieve 100% collection rates for drinks containers throughout Norway, and explains its belief that plastics can be recycled an infinite number of times to make maximum use of resources.

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