Saturday 26 September 2020

Dutch packaging industry has two years to solve plastic bottle problem

The Dutch government has given the packaging industry until 2021 to boost the recycling of small plastic bottles or face the introduction of a deposit system.

‘Litter is bad for the environment and the public mood,’ junior environment minister Stientje van Veldhoven said in a briefing for MPs about the plans. ‘We’ve all seen the pictures, the roadside full of litter, the Bali beach covered in bottles, animals full of plastic in the oceans. It has to stop.’

The industry must ensure 90% of throwaway plastic bottles are recycled and that the number of plastic bottles in litter is cut by 70% to 90% to avoid the introduction of deposits of 10 to 15 cents on plastic bottles.

The results of the industry’s efforts will be assessed in autumn 2020. If the target has not been met, deposits will be introduced on small bottles from January 1, 2021, the minister said.

Almost 200 Dutch local authorities and other organisations have now signed up to a campaign aimed at bringing in deposits on cans and small plastic bottles.

The Statiegeldalliantie was launched in November with 21 organisations, including the North Sea foundation and aims to persuade Dutch and Belgian governments to widen the use of deposits.

In 2015, the Dutch government tore up an agreement with the packaging industry to end the current system of deposits on plastic bottles. The industry argued there would be major cost advantages if deposits were scrapped but the cost savings, in a report commissioned by the industry, were later shown to be exaggerated.

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