The world is slowly turning into a massive landfill with lots of waste accumulation day by day. Norway is one of the first nations to step up with its impressive recycling game, with 97 percent of its plastic bottles now being reused.
Norway now has a program that pushes both business owners and members of the public to recycle their used plastic bottles. Now, other countries are trying to follow suit and the hope is that someday, the world will be one in this environmental endeavor.
Norwegian Way Of Recycling
The Norwegian system of recycling plastic bottles involves the government putting an environment tax of about 40 cents per bottle for all plastic producers and importers. If companies are able to recycle plastic materials, their taxes go lower. If the organizations manage to recycle more than 95 percent of their plastic materials, their taxes are forfeited.
The program is not just for business owners. Members of the public are involved as well. Consumers pay a small amount of money for each plastic bottle they purchase. The way for them to get their money back is to return the bottles via one of the 3,700 "mortgage machines" located in grocery and convenience stores. These machines are more than just simple depositories as it can read barcodes, complete a bottle registration, and release a coupon to the customer.
What Makes Norway's Recycling Scheme A Success
The strategy of Norwegian recycling is led by a company called Infinitum, a non-profit organization owned by different beverage businesses that manufactures plastic. An international company that imports plastic to Norway must register with Infinitum and be part of the co-op.
Other countries such as Germany and some parts of the United States already practice similar strategies, however, Norway says its system is the most at par with the modern plastic epidemic.
"We are the world's most efficient system," says Infinitum logistics and operations director Sten Nerland. He also cancels the idea that the world should avoid plastic. Plastic is cheap, light, and pliable. It's a really good raw material if it is only used correctly and recycled effectively
Norway Inspires Other Countries To Recycle Efficiently
Other countries are slowly following Norway's lead. In Ontario, Canada, the government is looking to ban single-use plastic materials, such as straws, bottles, and shopping bags.
The government is now involving the public and stakeholders in their quest to minimize waste. They release a discussion paper, where one of the main points tackles on single-use plastic materials.
In Swansea, Wales, the police are getting involved. The government creates a special group, dubbed as "rubbish police," which main job is to check household waste bins for recyclable materials. People who fail to separate plastics and glass materials from waste products are issued a fine of £100 (US$132).
Plastic Bottles Into More Valuable Materials
In a recent study published in February 2019, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, scientists developed a recycling mechanism that changes single-use bottles, clothes, and carpet made of common polyester material polyethylene terephthalate (PET) into more valuable materials that can last longer.
The research team thinks their project could help safeguard oceans from plastic wastes by starting a market of recycled plastic products.
The world is far from solving the widespread plastic problem. In fact, about 8 million tons of plastic are flowing into the oceans annually. If this continues, it is estimated that by the year 2050, plastic waste will outnumber fish.
The good news is that more and more countries are showing interest in innovative recycling methods, such as that started by Infinitum. Examples of such nations are China, England, Scotland, Croatia, France, India, Kazakhstan, and the Netherlands. In the coming years, it is hoped that more nations will join Norway in proudly reporting the positive results of their recycling schemes.