The Netherlands will enforce a deposit on small, plastic bottles from 2021 onward, unless the packaging industry manages to lower the amount of plastic bottles found in waste by more than 70 % by then.
The deal came after the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, Stientje van Veldhoven, and the packaging industry came to an agreement. Currently, between 50 to 100 million plastic bottles end up as litter on an annual basis and unless the industry manages to considerably lower that number, a deposit will be required. Allegedly, it will be 10 to 15 cents for bottles smaller than 1 liter. Supermarkets will have to collect the deposit, but the actual implementation will still need to be examined.
Both groups seem satisfied with the proposal: “Deposits help, we know that, so that is why I am enforcing deposits on small bottles. However, if another approach reaches the same result, then we will not need deposits. As long as we can tackle the plastic soup and we can turn old bottles into new bottles”, Van Veldhoven said, according to De Volkskrant.
Environmental groups say this was a missed opportunity, as they had hoped deposits would be enforced immediately. “A missed opportunity”, Greenpeace said. “Three years of delay will result in millions of additional bottles and caps in the environment and these will all contribute to the global plastic soup in the ocean before deposits will – perhaps - be expanded.”
Natuur & Milieu also claims this will only resolve part of the problem, because cans are not involved, despite that these appear in litter twice as much as plastic bottles. “That is why we will continue to work to get deposits for cans too”, director Marjolein Demmers said.