Norsk Resirk AS
Shorter route to new life for bottles and cans
The refundable deposit scheme for bottles and cans is set to become even more environment friendly. In future, returned cans will be recycled in Norway at Hydro’s Holmestrand facility.
People in Norway are among the world’s most enthusiastic when it comes to returning empty beverage containers. We return 95 per cent of all the recyclable (PET) bottles and beverage cans we buy.
“The return rate keeps on rising. In 2013 almost 425 million beverage cans and around 375 million recyclable bottles were returned by consumers,” says Kjell Olav Maldum, CEO of Norsk Resirk, which operates the scheme.
Turned into new bottles and cans
The bottles and cans that Resirk collects are currently sent abroad for recycling. Bottles are turned into new bottles and cans into new cans. Recycling has a great many environmental benefits.
“We save raw materials, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use substantially less energy than when bottles and cans are manufactured from completely new materials. Last year alone we cut our carbon emissions by 185,000 tonnes simply by recycling bottles and cans. That corresponds to the combined annual carbon footprint of over 20,000 people,” says Maldum.
However, to make the refundable deposit scheme as environmentally efficient as possible, the entire value chain – from collection to recycling – should preferably be kept within Norway. So last year Resirk and Hydro signed an agreement enabling returned beverage cans to be recycled at Hydro’s Holmestrand facility. The agreement means a shorter and more environmentfriendly journey for more than 6,200 tonnes of aluminium each year.
“This is a strategically important collaboration for us,” says Maldum. “Together with Hydro, we will work to further increase the amount of aluminium collected, and find the most environment-friendly transport solutions.”
Recycling aluminium requires just 5 per cent of the energy necessary to produce primary aluminium.
Bottle recycling at Fetsund
The collaboration with Hydro is the first important step towards making the refundable deposit scheme even more environmentally efficient. Plans are now underway for the construction of a recycling plant for plastic bottles beside Resirk’s new receiving facility at Heia in Fetsund, outside Oslo. This will mean that the compressed bottles can go straight from the receiving facility to the recycling plant, just a few metres away. There they will be ground up, before being taken to the next-door production facility, where the plastic will be melted down and moulded into brand new bottle preforms for shipment to beverage manufacturers.
“The environmental benefits of keeping the entire recycling chain for both beverage cans and PET bottles within Norway will make the Norwegian refundable deposit scheme one of the most environment-friendly in the world,” says Maldum.