€374 million unclaimed as can and bottle recycling misses target

Photo: DutchNews.nl

Targets for recycling plastic bottles and cans were again not reached last year, but fewer discarded ones were found in litter, according to Verpact, the industry body charged with dealing with recyclable waste.

A year after deposits were introduced on cans, 65% are being handed into collection points, as are 71% of bottles, Verpact said. The official target is 90%.

The low return rates mean some €374 million in deposits was not collected by consumers. The Netherlands introduced deposits of 15 cents on small bottles in July 2021. Cans followed last April.

The can collection scheme has been beset by problems since the launch, including a shortage of points to hand them in, malfunctioning machinery in supermarkets, and a surge in scavenging for cans that have been dumped in litter bins.

Last September Verpact was also given an official warning by government inspectors for failing to reach the 90% recycling target for plastic bottles.

Dairy and fresh juice products don’t yet fall under the deposit system, and they account for some 16% of all plastic bottles sold. Verpact now plans to ask dairy and juice producers to shift to deposits voluntarily and some have already done so.

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