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UK Could Adopt Norway-Style Recycling Scheme in a Bid to Reduce Plastic Waste

A revolutionary recycling system used in Norway may be implemented across the UK in the near future.

In the UK, only around 50 percent of plastic bottles are recycled each year in comparison to Norway’s 97 percent. This is due in large part to their deposit-based recycling scheme.

Consumers pay an extra one krone (roughly 10p) for each plastic bottle they buy. Once they are finished with their bottle, they can deposit it in a recycling machine that scans the barcode, and dispenses a receipt for customers to claim their money back.

Credit:  Hans/Pixabay

Credit: Hans/Pixabay

Kjell Olav Maldum is chief executive of the company that runs Norway’s bottle collection scheme, Infinitum. Speaking to BBC News, Maldum said: "There are other recycling schemes, but we believe ours is the most cost-efficient.”

The scheme is funded by beverage companies, who can opt in voluntarily. In return, they are given a tax cut by the Norwegian government.

"Our principle is that if drinks firms can get bottles to shops to sell their products, they can also collect those same bottles,” Maldum said.

Small shop owners also benefit from the program, as they are paid a small amount for each bottle collected in their machine. On top of that, Norwegian shopkeepers have reported an increase in footfall since the machines have been put in place.

Similar systems have also been adopted in other Scandinavian countries, Germany and certain states in the US.

Despite caution from Westminster on the basis of administrative fees and burdens, governmental advisors continue to push for the change, and Scotland has said they are already committed to implementing it.