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Can Norway help us solve the plastic crisis, one bottle at a time?

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Category: Culture / Lifestyle

A bottle deposit hub on the outskirts of Oslo has had a stream of high-level international visitors. Can its success be replicated worldwide?

Tens of thousands of brightly coloured plastic drinks bottles tumble from the back of a truck on to a conveyor belt before disappearing slowly inside a warehouse on the outskirts of Oslo.

As a workman picks up a few Coke bottles that have escaped, Kjell Olav Maldum looks on. “It is a system that works,” he says as another truck rumbles past. “It could be used in the UK, I think lots of countries could learn from it.”

Infinitum runs Norway’s deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and cans.
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 Infinitum runs Norway’s deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and cans. Photograph: Elin Høyland for the Guardian

Maldum is the chief executive of Infinitum, the organisation which runs Norway’s deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and cans. Its success is unarguable – 97% of all plastic drinks bottles in Norway are recycled, 92% to such a high standard that they are turned back into drinks bottles. Maldum says some of the material has been recycled more than 50 times already. Less than 1% of plastic bottles end up in the environment.

Earlier this year, as public awareness of the plastic pollution crisis grew, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, announced that England would be introducing its own deposit return scheme. As with many of the announcements to emanate from the environment department under Gove, the headline was big but the details small.

However, a clue as to what may come next emerged late last year when environment minister Thérèse Coffey visited Maldum at the Infinitum warehouse in Oslo. “She was well-briefed and engaged and asked the right questions,” said Maldum. “She understood what we are doing here.”

Read the full article at the Guardian.com

Source: The Guardian

Published: August 16, 2018

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