Fewer plastic bottles found in litter but recycling efforts are stagnating

Photo: Depositphotos
Photo: Depositphotos

There has been no further reduction in the number of small plastic bottles ending up as litter, despite the introduction of more recycling points, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday.

The findings come from research by litter expert Dirk Groot, who says that advertising campaigns and an increase in the number of recycle locations has not led to a further cut in plastic bottle waste.

Deposits of 15 cents were introduced on small bottles in July 2021 and that led to a 70% drop in the number found in litter, Groot’s research suggests. But since then the number has remained stable, despite the government’s target of 90%.

Groot says the government should take three steps to hit the 90% target. Firstly, the deposits scheme should cover all drinks in plastic bottles, including fruit juice and dairy. Secondly, labeling needs to be more permanent and thirdly, the recycling systems should also accept damaged bottles, so that they too become worth picking up.

His research has also shown that the number of drinks cans dumped as litter has gone up 10% since the introduction of deposits on more plastic bottles.

The government had been planning to introduce deposits on cans from the beginning of this year, but that has been delayed at least three months for technical reasons.

Last July NOS reported that 80% of small plastic bottles were being returned.

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