Return and Earn Recycling

Recycling bulb

In a world where people are becoming more eco-friendly and concerned about the future of the planet, recycling is growing at a steady rate. To encourage recycling and reduce litter, different governments across the globe have put in place a return and earn system (better known as the container deposit scheme) where people collect and return bottles, cans, cartons and other items, they take the items to a return point and then get a refund. Here are countries that implement the return and earn concept for recycling:

  1. Australia

On the 1st of December, 2017, the Return and Earn initiative was launched in New South Wales primarily to tackle litter which damages the environment and also promotes recycling practices. The state has an ambitious goal of slashing the volume of litter by 40% by 2020, and it is well on the way to achieving this via the Return and Earn system. Today, the practice is now nationwide.

  • United States of America

In the United States, the legislation guiding this concept is well known as the bottle bills, and this is because, in 1971, the State of Oregon was the pioneer in passing the container deposit law in the country. At the moment, ten states in the United States have laws that promote the return and earn concept: Hawaii, California, Maine, Delaware, Connecticut, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont.

Scrap iron truck
  • New Zealand

In 2008, New Zealand introduced its version of the return and earn system when it passed the Waste Minimization Act

  • Germany

The largest economy in Europe has one of the most comprehensive return and earn policies anywhere on the planet. Its return and earn system has provisions for aluminium, plastic and glass containers for various kinds of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. It also has a very complicated pricing system for each item and an overwhelming portion of the collection system is automated.

  • Finland

This nation in northern Europe was one of the first to adopt a return and earn system when it introduced it with glass bottles as far back as the early 1950s. Over time, other items like PET bottles, recycled glass bottles, aluminium cans and various types of plastic bottles were added. Its return and earn system is one of the most efficient in the world with a recovery rate regularly hitting an average of 95%.

  • Iceland

It was in 1989 that Iceland launched its return and earn system for recycling. It covered several containers made from glass, plastic, and aluminium. It also has a very high rate of recovery.

  • Norway

The Norwegian version of the return and earn initiative has been in place since the 1970s. It started with cans made from steel and aluminium. Over time, other items like cans, bottle crates, and plastic bottles were added.

  • Canada

Canada has one of the most advanced return and earn systems. It started in 1970 when British Columbia pioneered the deposit-return system involving containers for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Later, other provinces of Canada joined, and more items like jugs, plastic bottles, metal cans, and even Tetra Paks were included.

Apart from the ones listed above, the following countries also make remarkable use of the return and earn initiative: United Kingdom, Japan, Denmark, Fiji, Switzerland, Turkey, Lithuania, Israel, and Croatia. Others include Belgium, Estonia, Czech Republic, Hungary, and the Netherlands.