Deposits on cans and bottles leads to an increase in scavenging

Photo: Dutch News

The introduction of deposits on cans and small plastic bottles has led to a surge in scavenging at railway stations and in cities, the AD reported on Wednesday.

In particular, the NS says it is struggling to cope with the mess left behind by people who search in waste bins for tins and bottles, which carry 15 cents deposit. 

“Our cleaners can’t keep up,” an NS spokesman told the paper. “People are ripping open the rubbish bags and leaving the rest behind.”

Deposits were introduced on cans earlier this year to combat littering, but this has resulted in more localised problems as people hunt in bins for bottles and cans to return to supermarkets. 

The NS has placed machines at the country’s five biggest stations where travellers can place their cans, if they have a Dutch bank account for the refund. They can also opt to donate the cash to the Plastic Soup Foundation. But the option is not open to tourists.

Cleaners themselves are not averse to earning a little extra by hunting for bottles and cans as well, although this is “not what they should be doing,” a spokesman for cleaning company Asito told the paper. 

Amsterdam city council told the AD fines will be issued to people who break open rubbish bins or dump their contents on the street.

The city is also experimenting with waste bins with special sections where people can leave cans and bottles that they can’t be bothered to return, so that others can pick them up and get the money. Haarlem too is experimenting with a similar system.

Meanwhile, environmental activist Dirk Groot, also known as the Zwerfinator told the NoordHollands Dagblad last month that the introduction of deposits on cans has cut the number he has found dumped as litter by over 50%. 

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