New deposit system! Since April 1st, a deposit of 15 cents is charged on all cans sold in the Netherlands. Empty cans can be handed in at about 5,000 supermarkets. There are also about 22,000 other collection points such as gas stations, NS stations and sports clubs. The measure follows the deposit on small plastic bottles, introduced in 2021.


Since July 1, 2021, consumers pay 15 cents extra for bottles of less than a liter of water or soda. Some 900 million of these bottles are sold every year. To prevent these bottles from ending up as litter on the streets or in nature, the deposit was introduced. The result so far:

  • More than 80 percent of all plastic bottles sold, large and small, are handed in for deposits. This is still below the cabinet goal of 90 percent in 2022 (Source: Statiegeld Nederland).
  • The number of plastic bottles in litter has dropped by nearly 70 percent since the introduction of the deposit system (Source: NOS).


  • Add more return machines.
  • Increase the deposit. 15 cent is too low an incentive for some people.
  • Make the deposit mandatory for all small bottles (producers are currently required to charge a deposit on water and soft drinks, while juice and dairy do not have to).
  • Accept damaged bottles and cans (in this way, picking them up from the street is karma + a financial reward). 
  • Customize bins in public spaces, to accomodate for cans and bottles (see example below from Denmark)
bottle holder at bin

According to Milieu Centraal, approximately 150 million cans were littered in the Netherlands in 2021. We are happy with the new despoit system and we hope from now on cans will be less frequently dumped on the street and in nature.

For those who want to hand in cans: don’t crush them! The bar code must be legible and a smashed can will not be accepted by the machine.


The ideal 2050 scenario: no landfills, no litter, minimised incineration, ownership of waste streams, legislation & harmonisation, and extended producer responsibility. It sounds fantastic, but how to get there? Circular Plastics NL tries to find an answer. 


Together with industrial experts, the Circular Plastics Initiative created a cool roadmap for circular plastics. This visual represents the needed steps towards a future with circular plastics. The interactive website shows a representation of how this path would look like. There you find key elements that need our focus to make circular plastics possible. We summarise them below:

  1. Design for/from recycling, e.g.:
    • What are the needed design rules and processes that have to be implemented/ used to be compliant to (new) legislation (for the various value chains and applications)
    • Modelling multi-layer mono-polymer process design and functionality for various value chains/applications
  2. Chemical recycling, e.g.:
    • Efficient and effective separation techniques to deliver clean recyclates
    • Optimize the efficiency of pre- treatment technologies
    • Develop recycled material for multi-loop recycling
  3. Sorting techniques, e.g.:
    • Assessment of needed characterization and sorting techniques for optimized sorting for the various value chains
  4. Mechanical recycling, e.g.:
    • New and cheap in-line separation techniques for various types of mechanical recycling processes (film extrusion, injection moulding, blow moulding, pipe/ profile extrusion)


On January 1st 2023, Circular Plastics NL started: an 8-year national growth fund program with a >€ 500 million total budget. Various companies and knowledge institutions work together with the Dutch government. Find out more on the Circular Plastics Initiative and join their plastics community op LinkedIn.


We agree with the listed priorities in the perspective of a circular economy, and many improvements are needed (legislation, new technologies, consumer behaviour, etc.). However, we wonder if prevention of plastics is also prioritised. Take for example, a plastic packaging containing 500 gram oats. We can switch to a plastic that is easy to recycle, but do we need that packaging in the first place?

Bulk stores offer good alternatives. Several Zero Waste movements have published plastic free guides. Reduce and refill first, then think about recycling! Or perhaps another government funded program tackles this? Leave your comment below.


We wanted to write a blog about the principle of the Zero Waste Hierarchy. But sometimes other people already have done the job in such a good way that we do not have much to add. So instead of creating our own content based on experiences and existing literature, we invite you to check the image below and to read this blog about the zero waste hierarchy. Enjoy reading!

zero waste hierarchy


In this zero waste hierarchy, the lowest category is considered ‘unacceptable’. We agree, because valuable (virgin) materials are lost that cannot be renewed. One step above, ‘ residuals management’ also causes many problems, as many landfills are poorly managed.

To better understand the scope of plastic pollution, we analysed different articles and blog. We feel this blog from Happiness without gives a pretty good overview. Dive in their article to learn how much plastic waste is being produced. We quote their most important advice:

The best way to help is to limit your use of single-use products whenever possible. Actions like bringing your own bags to the grocery store and purchasing your own multi-use water bottle are small steps. 

More important is supporting wider-ranging political initiatives such as plastic bag bans and ensuring high-quality water available to more people. Even if these programs mean a little more inconvenience or cost for you, the effect can be much more positive and wide-ranging than simple individual actions. 


Whether a material is compostable is related to its chemical structure. Thus, there are biobased plastics that are compostable, biobased plastics that are not, and also non-biobased (fossil fuel based) plastics that are compostable. Very confusing! In this blog we do our best to explain biodegradable and compostable plastics.


A plastic is biodegradable if it can be converted into water, methane and CO2 in nature. This is done with the help of enzymes.

The label biodegradable can be misleading. It does not mean we can bury the packaging our garden compost heap and it will vanish naturally. The biodegradation of a plastic in nature can take decades, if not centuries. Some type of bioplastics break down into microplastics and can often only be composed industrially.


Certified compostable plastics decompose fast enough with the current method of composting in the Netherlands. This means no residues of compostable plastic were found in the compost. For example the European standard EN 13432 means the product can compost in a composting facility within 12 weeks, without the addition of artificial additives.

How do you know your product is compostable?

  • The first step is to look for the certification label from an official authority, like the Biodegradable Products Institute. This organisation certifies that products are able to be composted in commercially run composting facilities. Different countries/continents have different certification labels.
Examples of certification labels
Examples of symbols without certification labels


Chlorine and chloramine are added to tap water to make it safe for drinking. They have no negative health impact, but they affect the taste and odor. As a result, many people buy bottled water. What a waste! With a small and cheap water filter, the chlorine taste and odor is reduced to almost zero. Refill Ambassadors Félice and Hella tested a BRITA filter in the South of France.  

brita water filter
  • How does it work? We could not find much information about the filter itself, except that it is a carbon filter system. The BRITA water filter looks like a simple plastic jug. You fill it with tap water and wait approximately 30 seconds. Pour the filtered water in your glass and enjoy!
  • What about the taste? We are very positive. The chlorine taste and odor are close to zero and the water is softer.
  • How much does it cost? This depends on the model and the country where you buy it. For example the “Brita® Everyday Water Pitcher” costs 35 dollars, including one filter. The filter needs to be replaced after every +/- 150 liter or 450 liter if you choose the long-lasting filter. Check out the prices for filters here. In total, you’ll spend a few cents per liter.
  • What about the environment? By using a water filter, you help prevent plastic waste (compared to buying single-use plastic bottles). According to the BRITA website, 1.800 plastic bottles are replaced per year if you use a Brita® system vs. buying bottled water. Almost all BRITA filter cartridges are recyclable (we advise you to choose the long lasting filter). Some models provide a sticker calendar indicator when to replace the filter. All products are BPA-free.
Filter explained (source: Brita.com)


BRITA was founded in 1966 by Heinz Hankammer in Taunusstein, Germany. Since then, it has grown to a worldwide firm with almost 2.000 employees.

The BRITA HQ (source Brita.nl)


To conclude: we think this is a cheap and simple solution for countries where tap water is potable but not very tasty. But BRITA is not the only option. Read our blog about TAPP.

We’re eager to learn more about water filters and other brands. Please share your experience with us.


Did you know that refill can start from home?

Some parts of the world are still going through lockdowns ue to COVID-19. Wherever you are, we encourage you to stay safe at home as much as possible. But if you ever need to go out or when things get back to normal, we’d love to remind you of the many alternatives to single-use!

Image source: RefillMyBottle

It’s not only about refilling your water bottle but about all other things you can refill and reuse especially when going for groceries. There are many home delivery services that now provide refills too! Or if you go out for a take-away, bring your boxes, go for a walk and pick it up on the way home.

Together with other initiatives around the world – including RefillMyBottle, refillnz, mudfishnoplastic, ThantMM, RefillTheYangon and waterid_ – we remind you that #RefillStartsFromHome.

Image source: RefillMyBottle


Let’s be an inspiration to others and share with us how you are living the #refillution at home! Please share your number one refill tip – how to refill starts from home – in the comment below.


“Lowering the threshold to ask for a refill”. That’s the main goal of Publiek Water (translated as ‘Public Water’), a new initiative founded by 5 colleagues in Haren, the Netherlands. The team combines this national refill project with their regular job for advertising agency ‘Publiek’. We spoke with project manager Erik Jaap Dijk.

Publiek Water Team at refill station 'Schoenenzaken'


Publiek Water, the name of your project is linked to your company’s name. It also suggests you consider refilling to be a public right. Is that right?

E: Yes. The name is even part of the philosophy behind the name of our advertising agency. Publiek Water originated from the desire to do something visible for the largest public; worldwide. Tap water quality in the Netherlands is incredible. And there are many good refillable bottle designs. But the threshold to ask for a water refill is high. People are ashamed to ask for it. With Publiek Water, we want to lower this threshold.

That’s true. We noticed that tresholds to refill can be really high for some people indeed. How can new venues sign up?

E: We approach local businesses (shops, restaurants, bars etc.) personally/by mail and ask if they want to become a refill station. 9 out of 10 say yes. We add them to the map on our website and provide them with a window sticker, something we consider to be really important. The venues can choose to make donation to Publiek Water. So far, 341 venues have joined.

Interesting that you have a donation-based system! How does that work out?

E: About 50% of the participating venues donate. Those who donate usually pay €3,50 (the ‘cost-price’ = printing costs for the stickers + mail delivery service), but every now and then we receive bigger donations, €20,- or €50,- for example.

Cool. I hope your example will motivate other refill initiatives worldwide. What are your next steps?

E: We want to start new campaigns to raise awareness on the issue of plastic waste. Next month, we’ll be standing on a fair with our own stand, made from single-use plastic bottles. Secondly, we want to prepare our project for the long-term. It starts to get more time consuming and is not yet economically viable. Therefore we’re in the process of turning Publiek Water into a not-for-profit organisation.

That makes sense. Last question: what is your ultimate goal? 

E: When 80% of the people in the Netherlands dare to asks for a refill, our work is done!

Thanks a lot Erik, we appreciate your work and wish you good luck.


Check out the Publiek Water website (in Dutch). Interested to learn more about refilling in the Netherlands? Read our previous blog: Public drinking fountains in the Netherlands.

Images: Publiek Water