In 2017, a 6-metre-long whale appeared on the shores of the Sotra Island in Norway. Emaciated and in poor health, the zoologists decided to put it down.
Sadly, they discovered 30 plastic things inside the belly of the beaked whale, including plastic bread bags and sweet wrappers.
Unfortunately, plastic is the major killer of more than 100,000 sea mammals and million birds on a yearly basis and on a global level.
Plastic is being dumped into the sea every minute. But, Norway decided to do something about plastic pollution.
Norway’s Fight against Plastic Pollution
Oslo is the home of an organization known as Infinitum that runs the collection network of Norway for plastic cans and bottles.
Thanks to company, amazing 97 percent of the plastic bottles in Norway are repurposed through recycling and 92 percent of these to a high standard which is intended for making additional bottles.
Until now, some bottles have been recycled more than 50 times. This is enabled thanks to their controlled system.
Cap, glue, and label materials are checked and a small virgin material is added.
The team working in this organization wants to make a constant loop of plastic reuse.
The director of logistics and operations, Sten Nerland, claims they’re the most efficient system in the world.
Their main warehouse is indeed an ocean of noise- the big machines crunch, rattle, grind, and squeak 24/7 and process around 1500 containers or 160 tons of material daily.
Nerland notes it ‘smells like it is Sunday morning in a student’s bedroom’. The plastic pieces are arranged into blue, white, and green.
Why Is the Norwegian System of Recycling Plastic so Impressive?
Despite being simple, their system is quite efficient and it’s based on two important aspects.
One is that the more companies recycle, the less tax they have to pay.
If they reach a collective target of more than 95 percent, they don’t even pay taxes. This has been the case since 2011.
The second aspect is that customers have to pay a deposit for every bottle, usually between 10p and 25p.
This causes a radical change in the thinking of Norwegians- even though the product inside the bottles is to be consumed; the bottles are loaned and have to be returned.
The return of these bottles is made very straightforward and ease- there are hundreds of thousands of vending machines throughout the country.
Without doubt, they’re on the forefront of recycling, particularly if we compare their 97 percent with the UK’s 43 and the US’s 28.