Through what IFLScience.com has dubbed a “radical recycling program”, 97% of Norway’s plastic bottles are now recycled. “The success,” Tom Hale writes, “is thanks to the Norwegian government’s environmental taxes that reward companies that are environmentally friendly.”
Both the producers and importers, and customers themselves, are enticed to participate in the program through different incentives. Producers and importers are subject to an environmental tax, but the more the company recycles, the lower the tax rate is. If the company manages to recycle 95% of its plastic, the tax is dropped all together.
Consumers are also charged a small fee per bottle that they buy, but they are refunded their money if and when they return the bottles to “one of the 3,700 ‘mortgage machines’ found in supermarkets and convenience stores across the country, which reads the barcode, registers the bottle, and gives them back a coupon.”
Sten Nerland, the director of logistics and operations at Infinitum, the non-profit organization spearheading the recycling effort, told Positive News this is the world’s most efficient system. “As an environmental company you might think we should try to avoid plastic, but if you treat if efficiently and recycle it, plastic is one of the best products to use: light, malleable, and it’s cheap,” he added.