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.
DEPOSIT SYSTEM ON PLASTIC BOTTLES
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).
POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS FOR THE DEPOSIT SYSTEM
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)
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.
In these strange weeks, we have been rather silent. Luckily we can share some positive local news with you. The Netherlands will introduce a 15 cent deposit system on all plastic bottles < 1 litre! This measure will come into effect in July 2021. We’re already looking forward to it.
WHY DO WE NEED 15 CENT DEPOSITS ON SMALL PLASTIC BOTTLES?
You may consider the Netherlands clean and wonder whether small plastic bottles are a serious problem. Yes they are. According to Rijksoverheid, 100 million small bottles (out of the 900 million sold annually in the Netherlands) still end up being dumped. Take a close look and you see them scattered everywhere. While >1 L plastic bottles have had a 25 cent deposit for ages, small bottles had none. Some people need an incentive to get rid of their trash in a responsible way.
GREAT VICTORY FOR PLASTIC SOUP SURFER
Countries like Denmark has shown bottles and cans rarely end up in landfills, thanks in large part to the pant deposit system. Previous efforts to reduce littering of small plastic bottles in the Netherlands have not been effective. Several stakeholders fought for years trying to convince our government to expand the current deposit system. Among them are Plastic Soup Foundation and Plastic Soup Surfer Marijn Tinga, who even dared to crossed the Channel on his DIY plastic-bottle surfboard to raise awareness. Many thanks for your persistence!
Producers will be responsible for the new deposit system and bear the costs thereof. Around 12.000 sellers will collect the small bottles: in large supermarkets, caterers, at most train stations and at large petrol stations along the road. Hospitality and small businesses are yet excluded from the obligation to collect small bottles. Schools and sports associations can also voluntarily opt for a collection point. We hope many of them will join, to set the right example to our young generation.
WILL CANS BE NEXT?
In case the number of cans dumped as litter is not reduced by between 70% and 90%, the Dutch government will also introduce a deposit on canned drinks in 2022. We will keep you up to date!