25th December, 2017
Norway and Sweden are big on recycling. In Luleå, each grocery store had a plastic bottle drop-off machine called a panta that you could return packaging to before you entered the shop. Rather than give out cash, each machine would print a receipt that you could later scan at the checkout and get a discount on the total. It seemed to work so well.
I watched people arrive with big bags of drink bottles and then go in to do their shopping. I later found out that there is a linked supply chain where manufacturers participate to recycle plastics they manufacture. In 2016, it was estimated that Sweden recycled 84.9 percent of its aluminum cans and plastic bottles. That was a total of 1.8 billion items or an average of 177 per person per year. The pay-out when you return a container ranges from one to two krona (NZ$0.17 to NZ$0.34).
On Christmas Day in Oslo, Norway, Jane and I felt like Burger King for Christmas lunch. Like Sweden, the Norwegians are also into recycling but I could not help noticing that people seemed to take their spoons with them after they had eaten. No wonder; they looked big enough to use as snow shovels ….