Norway’s standard bottle deposit of one krone, paid on purchase and refunded upon return of the bottle to recycling machines, is set to double next year. The government’s goal is to further boost the country’s already high rate of recycling.
Around 82 percent of all small plastic bottles and cans are currently delivered to the bottle deposit machines found in most Norwegian grocery stores. Fully 93 percent of larger 1.5 liter bottles, which have a deposit of NOK 2.50, are returned for recycling as well. The deposit amounts haven’t been adjusted since 1993.
“We have a very good return system, and if we want to retain it in the future, we need to adjust the deposit levels now and then,” Vidar Helgesen, government minister in charge of environmental and climate issues, told state broadcaster NRK. While standard plastic bottle rates will rise to NOK 2 (USD 0.25), the rate for the larger bottles will rise to NOK 3. Both rates were recommended by the state environmental agency Miljødirektoratet.
Some environmental advocates had hoped for a new deposit rate (called pant in Norwegian) of NOK 5, as an incentive for even more bottle returns. Helgesen said the government feared more Norwegians would then opt to buy bottled drinks in Sweden, for example, where deposit rates and prices are cheaper. “Those bottles can’t be returned in Norway and the environmental effect would be worse,” Helgesen said.
The new deposit rates will take effect from January 1st but existing rates can be used until September 1, 2018, in order to give beverage firms and retailers a transition period to mark new bottles and update their systems. There’s no deposit on glass bottles, which can be thrown into public recycling bins for glass and metal.