Norway recycles 97% of all plastic bottles

Posted on 19 March 2019

Norway is ahead of the curve when it comes to methods of recycling. The nation has created one of the most efficient and environmentally-friendly ways of recycling plastic bottles through an organisation called Infinitum.

Infinitum manages Norway’s plastic bottle deposit-return system. The system is also used for recycling of cans. Just outside of Oslo, a bottle deposit system has been put in place that has delivered incredible results.

According to The Guardian, Norway recycles 97% of all plastic drinking bottles and only 1% of plastic bottles wind up in the environment. What’s more, approximately 92% of this one percent are converted back into drinking bottles because of the high standard of material that is left. In some instances, the system has enabled the same material to be reused over 50 times.

There is a plastic crisis on our planet; 91% of plastics aren’t recycled and 8-million metric tonnes of it end up in oceans each year, according to Science Alert. For Norway to be able to recycle at such a high and efficient rate makes them the world leader in plastic waste management.


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Infinitum’s CEO, Kjell Olav Maldum, says that Norway’s efficient, market-based deposit system is the key to the successful recycling practices. When a bottle is deposited, it receives a value.

According to Science Alert, the recycling model is essentially based on a loan scheme. When a person purchases a plastic bottle, they are charged a small fee of $0.13-$0.30 (R1.80-R.31). This amount can then be reimbursed in several ways.

The reverse vending machine is the first way, which returns the money after a person scans the barcode of the deposited bottle. Alternatively, people can head to various small shops or gas stations to receive cash or store credit.

Store owners also receive a small incentive for the bottles, that they in turn recycle. Norway has also implemented an environmental tax on plastic producers.

Maldum told The Guardian, ‘We want to get to the point where people realise they are buying the product but just borrowing the packaging.’

Also read: Fund your Istanbul travel pass with trash.


Image source: Instagram @vividacousticcollection

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