Denmark Bottle Deposit 🍾: A staggering 93 per cent of bottles and cans were returned thanks to the Danish Deposit and Return System (Dansk Retursystem). Learn more about Denmark’s bottle deposit scheme and why it is a monumental success and renowned globally in this blog. Continue reading to learn more. 

If you ask me when the time to polish Australia’s waste reduction and recycling should come, I would always answer with “Now!” in a heartbeat. Thankfully, the country has long begun its efforts, with a number of states such as New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria starting their respective environmental revolutions by implementing a ban on most single-use plastic items. The question is, however, is that enough?

Well, if you ask me, and not downplaying the good news at all, that might still not be enough. Australia, as a whole, needs better implementations, programs or the like to achieve a more sustainable environment. Well, what more can we do to achieve such feats?

Quite a lot, actually. The recycling bans in different Aussie states, for example, are a good start. Effective waste collection and recycling programs, too, can help immensely. But for this blog, we will focus more on something that we have talked about a number of times: bottle deposit schemes. Yes, bottle deposit schemes. Before fully covering Denmark’s bottle deposit scheme, let us talk about bottle recycling schemes in general.

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Wait, what is a bottle recycling scheme?

For those unfamiliar with the term, a bottle deposit scheme is a systematic approach wherein consumers are charged an extra amount of money when they purchase a single-use bottle or container drink. They can redeem the extra money they paid by returning the single-use bottle to a return point.

Based on the statements above, bottle recycling schemes show a lot of upsides such as incentivising a lot of people to recycle and, of course, reducing bottle or container waste.

Australia, in particular, has a number of bottle deposit schemes in different areas, according to Australian Beverages. Currently, South Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia. This 2023, Tasmania and Victoria are expected to launch their own deposit schemes, as well.

Although we do fare well against other countries in this area, there is always room for improvement. Denmark showed just that when it received an impressive 93 per cent of bottles and cans back in its bottle deposit scheme.

Below, let us cover more about Denmark’s bottle deposit scheme and why it is so effective.

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Denmark’s remarkable bottle deposit

Denmark’s Danish Deposit and Return System, shortened to Dansk Retursystem, was established in 2002 as a non-profit organisation to create and let function a then-new, circular deposit system. But even before that, they already have a return system in place operated by the public and private business sectors.


A bit of history

Called ‘flaskepant’, it was a return system in the late 1800s when some dairies introduced it on their glass milk bottles. Fast forward a bit to 1922, beer breweries introduced the first ‘pantsystem’ or simply a deposit system. Through the years, the system expanded to include both beer and soft drinks.

Then came plastic bottles in the early 1990s and the Dansk Retursystem shortly in 2002 ahead of the arrival of aluminium cans on the Danish market to comply with EU regulations. This effective system has since grown to include alcoholic soft drinks, energy drinks, mineral waters, juices and other ready-to-drink products.

For years, Denmark’s bottle deposit system has been responsible for ensuring the sorting, separation and transportation to recycling plants of Danish citizens’ bottles and cans.

Many thanks to RTE for this information.


Denmark Bottle Deposit: a world record

Now, I haven’t mentioned the full details of why Denmark is considered to have one of, if not the best bottle deposit schemes in the world. And mention in full detail, I shall.

The Dansk Retursystem, also known as the Danish Bottle Deposit Scheme, is considered to be one of the most effective in the world for several reasons:


Denmark’s bottle deposit has a high collection rate

As mentioned above, how a deposit scheme works is consumers are charged a little extra deposit fee to return their bottles and cans to return points. The deposit fee incentivises consumers to return their used bottles and cans, resulting in a high collection rate. In 2021 alone, a highly impressive 93 per cent of all bottles and cans were returned by consumers. Cans had a 92 per cent return rate whilst glass bottles had a mind-boggling 96 per cent. In total, Denmark has recycled and returned around 96% of all containers.


The system is effective

How would something work close to perfection without a strong foundation? The scheme is supported by an efficient and well-established infrastructure, including a network of return points and a system for sorting and recycling the collected materials.


Denmark’s bottle deposit decreases litter

Obviously, when one returns their bottles, cans or containers in a bottle deposit scheme, they can rest assured that they remove any possibility of their single-use plastic items purchased littered in the streets. With that mentioned, Denmark’s bottle deposit scheme has been successful in reducing litter and keeping public spaces clean.


It has nationwide support from the public

The Danes have fully accepted the bottle deposit scheme, hence garnering unwavering support from the public. After all, how would Denmark’s bottle deposit scheme work if the people there don’t bother returning their bottles and cans?


Denmark’s bottle deposit provides funds for environmental protection

The funds generated by the scheme are used for environmental protection and waste management initiatives, further contributing to a more sustainable future.


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