Global Plastic Policy Reviews

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When referring to any of the results of our analysis and/or its concept and design, please cite us accordingly:
Global Plastics Policy Centre (2022) March A., Salam, S., Evans, T., Hilton, J., Fletcher, S. (editors). Global Plastics Policy Review. Revolution Plastics, University of Portsmouth.

Norway Product Control Act. (1999) on the Recycling of Plastic and Metal Beverage Bottles

View the policy document
Contribution to reducing plastic pollution:
Effectiveness of meeting own objectives:
Strength of evidence: Limited Available Evidence
Reviewed under framework: Yes

The Norwegian deposit return scheme (DRS) is a highly successful scheme, and is often studied by non-Norwegian businesses and countries an example of success. The scheme includes PET bottles and cans, which have a deposit of around 20-30p on each container. These containers can be returned to around 3.7 thousand reverse vending machines in stores across Norway, or 11 thousand manual collection points. The deposit can be redeemed, used to participate in the national lottery, or donated to charity.

Run by Infinitum, a non-profit organisation owned by Norwegian bottlers and industry, over 95% of PET bottles are recycled. This scheme is also coupled with an environmental tax, where non-refillable beverage containers have both an environmental and basic levy. This levy decreases as the rate of return increases. If a company achieves a 95% return rate, the levy is no longer applied. Beverage producers or importers must join Infinitum when selling in Norway.

Despite being a well-regarded and successful policy, the evidence base was scored as limited due to a lack of peer-reviewed literature.

Since implementation, this policy was successful in a number of key areas:

  • The legislation itself is simple and allows industry to have a significant stake in decision-making.
  • 97% of all plastic drinks bottles are recycled
  • 92% of these are recycled to such a high standard that they recycled into drinks bottles
  • Less than 1% of plastic bottles persist in the environment

From this, a number of lessons can be learned when considering implementing a deposit return scheme:

  • The sliding scale environmental levy is a strong incentive for businesses to participate in the DRS, as it is expensive for a producer to not engage with the DRS
  • The DRS is run by the non-profit Infinitum, which all beverage importers or producers must join. Products must be approved by Infinitum prior to sale
  • Returning the containers are easy for consumers. Reversible vending machines or manual return systems are in place across the country in stores, and the consumer decided whether their money is returned or donated to charity. This supports high use.

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We are confident in our research, however, not all evidence is made publicly available which may affect the outcome of the reviews. Let us know if you have research or evidence that can contribute to our analysis, or a policy you think would be valuable to review!

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Our methods

Through an analytical framework, we've reviewed over 100 plastic policies. These reviews determine the effectiveness of policies in reducing plastic pollution and we offer recommendations in light of this evidence, to enhance future policy making. You can find out more about our methods on our methods page.

Methods

Guidance

In light of our findings, we've created targeted guidance for Policy Makers, Citizens and Businesses.

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We are confident in our research, however, not all evidence is made publicly available which may affect the outcome of the reviews. Let us know if you have research or evidence that can contribute to our analysis, or a policy you think would be valuable to review!

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