The highest return percentage was for cans and glass bottles, 99% and 98%, respectively. Although the return rate of plastic bottles is still good, it is important to take steps to improve it, and Palpa encourages consumers to return plastic bottles more often.
One possible explanation for the decrease in the return rate of plastic bottles is that some are recycled in other ways, for example by putting them in the recycling bins of apartment buildings. In addition, some bottles may not be returned because the barcode label has come off. Despite these factors, Palpa has demanded new measures to encourage consumers to return plastic bottles.
It is noteworthy that Finnish consumers are already relatively diligent in returning deposit bottles and cans. According to Palpa, the average Finnish consumer returns around 400 deposit bottles and cans per year. The Finnish drink packaging deposit system is one example of a successful recycling program. There are currently 4,000 return points for consumers, and the closed loop system ensures that the materials can be recycled endlessly.
Recycling beverage packaging can save a significant amount of energy and natural resources. Last year, 19,800 tons of aluminum, 16,800 tons of plastic and 52,300 tons of glass were returned to the system, which can be reused for new packaging. Palpa’s goal is to encourage consumers to recycle as many beverage containers as possible and to remind consumers that every container is important in terms of saving natural resources. The fact that the return rates for cans and glass bottles are high shows that the deposit system is working and with a new effort, the return rate for plastic bottles can also be increased.
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