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#Recycling or deposits on blottles & cans?
Waste Waste Household

It is time that the Netherlands invested heavily in recycling innovation instead of introducing a deposit on bottles and cans. That says Peter Rem, professor of recycling and resources at TU Delft. "Such a plan does not solve our problem and is extremely expensive." Rem responds to the news that more and more municipalities are joining the so-called deposit alliance.

A total of 101 organizations in the Netherlands and Belgium, including 29 Dutch municipalities, support the initiative to also charge a deposit on small plastic bottles and cans. However well-intentioned it may be, extending the deposit for just these products is, according to Rem, a drop in the ocean. "I think that every year we use about 1,200 euros of raw materials per Dutch citizen, which we ultimately have to get out of recycling, and we do not get that few euros from all those bottles and cans." We spend 120 million euros per year to recycle our plastic trays, but to develop our technology less than a million. In News and Co on NPO Radio 1, Rem explains that the discussion on the subject has two sides: tackling litter and how efficient the new system will be. The fact that the litter is reduced by it is beyond doubt for Rem. This is evident from statistics from Spain and Denmark, where there is already deposit money on plastic bottles. "Littering has indeed been reduced there."

Chinese man with overlaoded bicycle with bags with plastic bottles
The introduction of a comparable system in the Netherlands leads to 70 to 90 percent fewer cans and bottles on the street, according to research by CE Delft. It has no impact on the rest of the litter. 'Extremely expensive' Rem points out that setting up a new system, from collection point to processing, is "incredibly expensive". "That is a marginal note that is still being made very little." In the aforementioned report, the costs are estimated at 10 to 110 million euros, depending on the number of collection points. According to him, that money can be used more efficiently. "At the technical level, recycling is still lagging behind on other sectors, for example in the computer world or in the construction of cars, where very smart electronic systems have been developed, so if you see what happens within the recycling system, it does not get there. "The professor also refers to the increased incineration of waste in Europe. This is caused by the fact that China no longer imports our plastic.
Ladies and one man recycling bottles in China
There we made the following explanation video last Monday: Why China does not want our junk anymore There is no capacity on our continent to make all waste suitable for reuse. According to Rem, this has to do with the lack of innovation within the sector. In terms of turnover, the collection sector is five times as large as the recycling industry in the Netherlands, he explains. The majority of all that collected plastic is processed abroad. "We do have large tech companies, but when it comes to recycling, we only collect it." Make it smarter The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis concluded last year that the current system of plastic collection yields few environmental benefits. The agency called on the government not to pick up more plastic packaging and to look for other solutions. Rem thinks that investing in innovation is an important step. "Now we spend just over 120 euros a year to recycle our plastic containers, but to develop our technology less than a million a year, let's first make technology smarter."

Paulus Houthuijs