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Bottle Deposits Options
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 7:39:28 AM

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"UK 'could adopt' Norway bottle recycling system."

Norway recycles about 97% of the plastic bottles used there.
Britain just about manages to reach 50% - sometimes.

This system sounds quite good - I'm not sure about the mechanised system (in which every bottle has a bar-code and recycling machines read the barcode as you drop your empty bottle in the slot). That sounds a bit complex to me.

The basic system is what we used to do when I was a lad.
You pay ten pence for the first bottle, then when you take that back empty, you get ten pence back which pays the deposit on your next one.

All very simple - but it has been "in the works" for almost a year while the plastic-manufacturers complained that it would destroy their profits.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 3:47:17 PM

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The barcode pull be a problem for me, I have a habit of peeling off labels.

We used to collect other people's empty bottles and take them to off-licence to buy our own as boys.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 4:45:37 PM

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I also collected bottles as a boy and sold them back to the store to buy other things. It was a big disappointment when that ceased to be possible.

The thing is, the retailer had to store all those bottles until the next delivery date, and the delivery driver had to collect the bottles and return them back to the company. All this cost money.

So I suppose plastic is so cheap, it isn't worth the effort and expense to do all that. The companies want us to return them for nothing, and still complain there isn't enough profit in it. Perhaps Norway subsidizes the plastics recycling industry so they can achieve that 97%?

But the idea of people paying ten pence, or ten cents, seems like it would make the plastic bottles valuable and more likely to be returned. So I don't understand why manufacturers say it would destroy their profits. What am I missing? Surely a plastic bottle doesn't cost more than such a deposit price as that?


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
thar
Posted: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 5:15:06 PM

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Norway did it by threatening to tax the drinks producers. They have to prove they are providing facilities to recycle and actively encouraging recycling.
It is run by an independent company. The system is funded by the unreturned deposits on bottles, and by the drinks companies.
All shops that sell bottles are required to accept returs.

Many have the machine because it brings in customers and people get a voucher for the bottles, which they are then most likely to spend in that shop, though you can exchange it for cash.


There is very good household recycling in Norway but by keeping this stream separate it retains higher value.


In Norway there is more of an understanding that you are responsible for the entire life of your product - tyre, cars, batteries, paper, white goods, engine oil, plastic, glass - if you make it, you take it back.

hedy mmm
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2018 12:00:53 PM

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I agree with you FounDit, manufacturers make no sense when they claim that it would destroy their profits!

I have neighbors whose elderly grandparents collect soda cans and bottles for recycling. (I think more so, to stay busy) I also contribute bottles/cans a week by placing them in a a plastic bag over our adjoining fence. My neighbors accumulate approximately 800 to 1,000 bottles on a daily basis, from the neighborhood, with the use of a large shopping cart! Amazing what they collect!

I perused the net and found this article that is most interesting, by Steve Gillman, "How I Made $1,500 Collecting Soda Cans". I believe he's from Michigan.

"For most of us to get motivated to collect cans and bottles, they have to be worth substantially more than a penny or two. That’s why the best opportunities are in states with “bottle bills,” laws requiring a deposit. Michigan has the highest standard deposit at 10 cents. Most other states with such laws have a 5-cent deposit, although some require higher deposits on larger cans or liquor bottles. According to the Bottle Bill Resource Guide, 10 states and one U.S. territory have deposit laws as of this writing: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Guam.

If you live in an area with deposit laws, you probably already know the routine. In Michigan, stores have to redeem your empties for the deposit if they carry that brand, even if that particular can or bottle wasn’t purchased there. Most of the larger stores now have can and bottle sorting machines that you load yourself (though this can be sticky work). Once you run your empties through the machine, you get a ticket to cash in at any register.

So is there really much money in this? Well, there was that man I met who paid his rent by collecting empties in the streets. And apparently, 10 cents each is enticing enough thatpeople still smuggle empty cans into Michigan like “Seinfeld” characters Kramer and Newman.

But for most of us, returnable beverage containers are just a way to make a little extra cash."


"God graced us with today....don't waste it." hedy
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2018 1:16:30 PM

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thar wrote:
Norway did it by threatening to tax the drinks producers. They have to prove they are providing facilities to recycle and actively encouraging recycling.
I'm having some difficulty following you on this. The producers have to prove they are providing recycling facilities and actively encouraging recycling, which I suppose means advertising costs. But you then say this is run by an independent company. Is this company owned by the producers?

It is run by an independent company. The system is funded by the unreturned deposits on bottles, and by the drinks companies.
So the retailers who sell the products have to account for all the deposits that they don't return, and must send that money to this company. This would seem like an additional accounting expense, thus increasing costs, and a burden to keep up with.
All shops that sell bottles are required to accept returs.

Many have the machine because it brings in customers and people get a voucher for the bottles, which they are then most likely to spend in that shop, though you can exchange it for cash.


There is very good household recycling in Norway but by keeping this stream separate it retains higher value.
Why would keeping it separate increase its value? Most recycling centers I've seen sort items and ship them to their individual points of manufacture. It would seem that keeping it all in one system would be more efficient and less expensive.

In Norway there is more of an understanding that you are responsible for the entire life of your product - tyre, cars, batteries, paper, white goods, engine oil, plastic, glass - if you make it, you take it back.
This seems like it would increase the costs of goods many times over, making everything more expensive. Is that not a problem for people with lower incomes?


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
thar
Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2018 2:20:01 PM

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There were separate producers, and all have to prove they are supporting recycling, which includes paying for the independent recycling system.

The accounting is just amount sold by manufacturer vs amount recycled. All barcoded, automatically!y tallied.

The deposit is in the cost, and the return is in a voucher. Thee is no cash deposit or return forshps to deal with - it all goes through the independent system - you put the bottle in the machine, it reads the barcode and gives you a voucher.

The machinery for recycling is much simpler - bottles have to be of a limited range of plastics, so you recycle cheaply.
Don't you have separated recycling?

The cost of living in Norway is very high. 3rd highest in the world in some survey, can't remember when. But it is all about priorities. What sort of country people!e want to create.

Quote:
Norway tops the global happiness rankings for 2017
Norway has jumped from 4th place in 2016 to 1st place this year, followed by Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland in a tightly packed bunch. All of the top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance.

http://worldhappiness.report/ed/2017/

Norwegians earn more than Americans, pay more in taxes, and employers pay more in taxes and benefits. There is much less differential between rich and poor than in some other countries.

Norway ranks in the top 3 in world in income equality, although people are worried the gap between rich and poor is getting wider, they are starting from a better baseline.



Quote:
Norway, like many European states, has public offerings many Americans would consider political fantasy. There is lengthy paid maternity leave, free university education, and long-term unemployment benefits. What is it about the Norwegian state—or about Scandinavian countries in general—that leads their populations to support redistribution policies in a way that Americans don’t?

A group of Scandinavian researchers recently did an experiment trying to tease that out. Their goal: to find out how social attitudes towards inequality in the U.S. and Norway differ, in an effort to explain why the two countries have such different redistribution policies. The difference, they discovered, hinges on how people think about luck and fairness.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/01/inequality-america-norway/512735/


Yes, there are costs in product lifetime recycling, but if you run it efficiently not too much. It is just what you choose to prioritise, and what you get used to seeing as normal. It is a different attitude to the more entrepreneurial, tougher spirit of America.
FounDit
Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 2:33:15 PM

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Thanks. A very interesting article.

I'm not well-versed on how recycling works in most of our major cities since I live in a rural area, and we recycle on a voluntary basis. In the cities, according to my limited knowledge, most folks are required to sort their recyclables into paper/ plastics and aluminum.

The only things I recycle are aluminum and other metals (which are virtually worthless). The aluminum is the only thing with any value, and bottles no longer have any deposit on them at all.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
thar
Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 4:48:18 PM

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Glad you found it interesting. It didn't start out as a puff-piece about Norway, but it did sort of veer in that direction!
d'oh!

I am so used to recycling I forget it is not ubiquitous.
There are arguments it is more expensive than not, but the arguments seem overwhelming even if there is cost.
- In cities, the cost of landfill disposal is so much greater than recycling it is always worth it
- if landfill isn't expensive, they are not doing it right or creating future landfill problems
- if they are avoiding landfill costs, they are dumping it into the ocean and making it everybody's problem!
- waste incineration for power production sounds like a great idea - unless you are ones who have to breathe in the dioxins and the heavy metals! Silenced

But even recycling should be a last resort.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. The first one is the problem!
Whistle People, especially western and especially urban, but not solely so, have got into a completely ridiculous culture of waste. Looking at it dispassionately it would be laughable if it wasn't so serious.

I include myself in that - I am careful about the waste - where I am in London most is recyclable, food waste is collected, there are collection points for electronics and batteries. Usable clothes for charity resale, and unusable textiles for recycling The only thing in the waste bin is a few occasional plastics or plastic film which are still unrecyclable, really. Hardly anything.
And I reuse whenever possible. Being inventive is far more fun than buying stuff. Really, buying stuff is so boring! And an admission of failure!.
But I could do more with reduction of use in the first place - but I take the easy route and buy things the way companies sell them. Although now some shops in London are trying to appear greener and using better packaging, and less of it, and have recycling stations in-store (so you take your purchase out of the packaging and leave it in-store - next stop is to omit the packaging stage!).
But I think social pressure drives these things, and I get the impression that is not there in the same way in most of America the way it is in western Europe, as a social duty driving the financial decisions of companies and councils.
Not that everyone does it, of course. Lots if 'not my problem, why should I change?-itis'.
But at least the infrastructure is there. Changing attitudes an take a few generations. It has to be better than giving up and doing nothing.
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2018 11:58:37 AM

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thar wrote:
Glad you found it interesting. It didn't start out as a puff-piece about Norway, but it did sort of veer in that direction!
d'oh!

I am so used to recycling I forget it is not ubiquitous.
There are arguments it is more expensive than not, but the arguments seem overwhelming even if there is cost.
- In cities, the cost of landfill disposal is so much greater than recycling it is always worth it
- if landfill isn't expensive, they are not doing it right or creating future landfill problems
- if they are avoiding landfill costs, they are dumping it into the ocean and making it everybody's problem!
- waste incineration for power production sounds like a great idea - unless you are ones who have to breathe in the dioxins and the heavy metals! Silenced
I agree that it seems a very bad idea to simply bury waste as if it will somehow go away. On the other hand, no one will expend money on a problem if they can't make a profit on doing so. Altruism goes only so far.

But even recycling should be a last resort.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. The first one is the problem!
Whistle People, especially western and especially urban, but not solely so, have got into a completely ridiculous culture of waste. Looking at it dispassionately it would be laughable if it wasn't so serious.
This is certainly true, especially here in the States. This is glaringly true with food. One of the reasons for it is when people do not have to pay for it, such as the government financed school lunch program. Because it is paid for and the choices made by bureaucrats, there is tremendous waste -- virtually tons of it daily because the kids either don't like it, or don't finish it.

I include myself in that - I am careful about the waste - where I am in London most is recyclable, food waste is collected, there are collection points for electronics and batteries. Usable clothes for charity resale, and unusable textiles for recycling The only thing in the waste bin is a few occasional plastics or plastic film which are still unrecyclable, really. Hardly anything.
And I reuse whenever possible. Being inventive is far more fun than buying stuff. Really, buying stuff is so boring! And an admission of failure!.
I also tend to reuse as much as possible, primarily because I was raised to be frugal, but also because to purchase things, I need to travel about 25 miles (40km) round trip to the nearest town. If they don't have it, the next town is a 40 mile (70km) trip.

But I could do more with reduction of use in the first place - but I take the easy route and buy things the way companies sell them. Although now some shops in London are trying to appear greener and using better packaging, and less of it, and have recycling stations in-store (so you take your purchase out of the packaging and leave it in-store - next stop is to omit the packaging stage!).
That sounds like a good idea, but likely wouldn't work here. I'm finding that the packaging is becoming more of a Gordian Knot with each year -- the companies and retailers becoming increasingly more theft conscious. Apparently, easy packaging makes for easy theft as well.

But I think social pressure drives these things, and I get the impression that is not there in the same way in most of America the way it is in western Europe, as a social duty driving the financial decisions of companies and councils.
Not that everyone does it, of course. Lots if 'not my problem, why should I change?-itis'.
True that social pressure is a driver, but will never replace the profit motive. There must be money to be made in the collection, sorting, and distribution of material, or it won't happen.

But at least the infrastructure is there. Changing attitudes an take a few generations. It has to be better than giving up and doing nothing.

Well, it has changed dramatically over several decades. No doubt it will continue, and especially as new techniques are developed to overcome present hurdles. I like to think it can be made easier and with that, more ubiquitous.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
thar
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2018 1:22:07 PM

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Quote:
True that social pressure is a driver, but will never replace the profit motive. There must be money to be made in the collection, sorting, and distribution of material, or it won't happen.


I think that sums up the fundamental difference in perspective. What people are prepared to pay in taxes to do the right thing, or the consumer choices they make. Not a profit motive for the recyclers.


Taken to the extreme - in Lebanon, years of war and corrupt government meant there was no rubbish collection in some places. While the men sat around and complained about it, the women got a rubbish truck, a yard, and just worked the problem Whistle


Quote:
In 2015, thousands of people in Lebanon protested near daily against a garbage crisis in the country which saw trash pile up on the streets of Beirut.

The grassroots movement, dubbed "You Stink", targeted corruption in the country, having morphed from popular discontent with the lack of basic services into an all-out rejection of a nepotistic, inefficient political elite.

In south Lebanon, some 40 kilometres south of the capital, one 81-year-old woman is more than familiar with this frustration, standing as a testament to the power of civil society when government fails.

"If everyone does what we did in Arabsalim, there'd be no rubbish problem anywhere in Lebanon," she told BBC World Service.

In the 1980s and 90s waste collection ground to a halt in here village as Israel occupied the south of the country for 15 years.

As trash piled up, she would ask the regional governor for help but rarely received more than apathy and indifference.

"Why do you care? We are not Paris," he told Zeinab. It was at that moment she decided to take things into her own hands.

Zeinab enlisted the help of the women in her village, partly, she says, to empower them but mostly because she thought they would do a better job than the men.

Her friend Khadija Farhat bought a lorry with her own money and Zeinab turned her back garden into a storage area for recyclable waste, with the women taking it upon themselves to organise recycling for the entire village.

The team of volunteers paid themselves for the collection of trash from the 10,000-strong community and nineteen years later each of the 46 membes continues to put in $40 a year to keep the service running.

"Household recycling was the best way forward," Zeinab, who named the organisation Call of the Earth, told BBC World Service.

The group of volunteers initially recycled glass, paper, and plastic but recently started collecting electronic waste, having employed a researcher to investigate the best way to make compost in hot and dry southern Lebanon.

The only help the volunteers got from local authorities was a one time delivery of 300 plastic bins, and a piece of land which allowed Zeinab to use her garden again.

After 10 years of grassroots volunteer action, the organisation received a grant from the Italian embassy to build a warehouse which now receives visitors, schoolchildren and activists, who come to study how the Call of the Earth group functions.

Since Beirut's main landfill site closed in 2015 the number of visitors to the centre has dramatically increased. As waste built up in the city and the issue was paralysed by political and sectarian divides, Zeinab's community initative began attracting attention.

In nearby Kaffaremen, local women have set up a similar initiative which is funded by the villagers themselves. The town of Jaarjoua adopted a similar scheme soon after.

"When I look at them, it is like looking back at ourselves 20 years ago," Zeinab told the BBC World Service of the new initiatives inspired by her work.

"Planting the idea in people's minds that caring for the earth is our responsibility in this part of the world. Whether we do it or not, our politicians won't care. It's down to us."





Hope123
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2018 3:24:27 PM

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Location: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the info, guys. I have alerted both levels of Canadian government that deal with waste management to check into it if they aren't already aware of it.

We do recycling here even in condos and apartments (green bins are being considered as well) but this idea for plastic bottles sounds even better. A friend who owns a waste management business says that sometimes the recycling is just dumped into the garbage for various reasons.

For health reasons I personally try to buy products that are still contained in glass even if they cost more. Bits of plastic can be found in foods in plastic bottles. I just returned a glass bottle for a two dollar refund. I carry water with me everywhere I go in my own glass small (old soda ) bottles that I reuse for many years.

In fact a new study says that 97% of water bottled in plastic contains plastic bits. It's in our food, wine, water... Don't know how anyone else feels about ingesting plastic, but I surely don't like the thoughts.

Thar, interesting Gini map.

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
Romany
Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018 9:24:50 AM
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Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Plastic water bottles have become a big problem here in Brighton - especially in Summer when thousands of tourists descend.

So local businesses and shops have got together to help out. All the premises involved have a particular water sticker on outside walls or windows which invite one to refill their water bottles there for free, rather than chucking them and buying a new one.

No profit involved; no free advertising - just a bunch of people who want to make Brighton better, and stop discarded plastic bottles being swept into the sea.
thar
Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018 9:38:56 AM

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Neurons: 69,283
That is such a great idea. I always carry a bottle with tap water from home, but filling them up is hard once you are out.


In Iceland there is a problem with tourists testing the place like a rubbish bin. Only some tourists, obviously, put they have a big effect. They buy bottled water even though they could reuse their bottle and refill with pure clean tapwater. Then they just chuck them everywhere.
Someone else has to pick up after them. Then even if they are recycled, the plastic recycling has to be shipped abroad to Sweden as there is no recycling plant in Iceland. And who has to pay? Not them. So bloody disrespectful!

I would love to see your Brighton system brought in elsewhere! Applause
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018 12:03:33 PM

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Joined: 9/19/2011
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I've noticed that in some new buildings that have been put up, beside the drinking fountains, there are places for refilling water bottles. The odd thing about this is that most people who buy bottled water do so because they don't want to drink tap water. So I wonder how this is going to work.

thar wrote:

Quote:
True that social pressure is a driver, but will never replace the profit motive. There must be money to be made in the collection, sorting, and distribution of material, or it won't happen. [FD]


I think that sums up the fundamental difference in perspective. What people are prepared to pay in taxes to do the right thing, or the consumer choices they make. Not a profit motive for the recyclers.

That was my point. No matter where it comes from, taxes or business profits, someone has to pay or it won't happen. Same was true for your story of Lebanon -- one person bought a lorrie with her own money, while others contribute $40/yr each to keep the system operational.

But much was left out of the story, such as what was done with the trash, how it was disposed of, what were the costs and how were those costs covered after the economy was disrupted by war, because the problem increases with time.

It's a great story of how people at the bottom of the economy can work together on a problem, but some trash can't be easily recycled. What is done with that trash? So it leaves me wondering about a great deal that was omitted. One can easily be left with the idea that there is a perfect solution to the problem, when the truth is that it likely isn't so.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
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