Belgians ask government to copy Dutch deposit system for bottles and cans

Belgians ask government to copy Dutch deposit system for bottles and cans

As a result of the enthusiasm about the deposit on plastic bottles in the Netherlands, the call is getting louder and louder in Belgium.

2 juli 2021 Tom Zoete

The deposit on small plastic bottles took off on 1 July in the Netherlands. A cheerful Dutch State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (D66) kicked off the new measure on the beach of Scheveningen, together with the Statiegeldalliantie, the joint initiative of more than 1.100 Dutch and Belgian stakeholders calling for a deposit system.

The 1.100 partners of the Statiegeldalliantie, including Belgian and Dutch organisations of farmers, environmentalists, and citizens are calling for the Belgian regional governments to follow the Dutch example. At an event in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, their call was reinforced by Chairman Joachim Coens of the governing party CD&V and chairwoman of the Greens Meyrem Almaci.

Global innovation manager Tom Domen of Ecover represented the business world that is asking for a deposit return system to enable meeting their sustainability goals, especially when it comes to recycled content in PET bottles.

The farmers’ association ABS is asking  for the system in order to lower the risk of cow ingesting mall pieces of metal.

They were joined by Canal It Up, Brussels enthusiasts who clean the Brussel canal in kayaks, Ferm, the largest women’s organisation of Flanders, BBL, the Flemish environmental umbrella organisation, and Walloon citizen Régine Florent who pleaded for the 3 Belgian regions to work together. They all called the belgian decision-makers to follow the example of the Netherlands.

The Statiegeldalliantie: “The Dutch will have a nicer and cleaner environment from now on. The pollution and the municipalities’ costs will reduce sharply. Risks for animals to get harmed  will decrease. So this is a big victory for all those who have fought for it and for everyone who is keen on a cleaner environment.”

Four years of intensified political debates

In 2017, Recycling Netwerk Benelux took the initiative to establish the Statiegeldalliantie together with 19 other organisations and 1 Dutch municipality. Today, more than 1,100 partners, including 98% of all Dutch municipalities, are campaigning for deposits in Belgium and the Netherlands, under the flag “Deposit for bottles and cans, Yes We Can!”.

State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven (D66) made the decisions for small bottles and cans respectively in April 2020 and in February 2021. The second phase of the deposit return system expansion, the deposit on cans, will take effect on 31 December 2022.

Four garbage trucks full of plastic bottles a day

Rob Buurman from Recycling Netwerk Benelux photo credits Tom Zoete“The positive impact on the Dutch environment will be historical,” says director Rob Buurman of Recycling Netwerk Benelux. “Currently, around 200 million bottles and cans end up in the Netherlands’ streets every year. 4 garbage trucks full of small plastic bottles, every day! A deposit system will reduce this number by 70 to 90 percent”. When the second phase starts and cans are included, Dutch cows will run less risk of being hurt by bits of tin.

Belgium, Yes We Can!

“The Deposit Refund Alliance has been made up of Dutch and Belgian members from the outset. Now the Dutch government has decided the deposit on plastic bottles and cans, and society is welcoming the measure with great enthusiasm, the pressure on the Belgian ministers for the environment – in Flanders Zuhal Demir (N-VA), in Brussels Alain Maron (Ecolo) and in Wallonia Céline Tellier (Ecolo) – is  increasing. The litter problem is increasing rapidly in recent years, according to the most recent official counts in Belgium.

 

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Pictures

Note: We own the rights to the photos below, you are free to use them with reference to “www.statiegeldalliantie.org”.

Photo of State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management Stientje van Veldhoven (D66) at the action yesterday 30 June on the beach of Scheveningen near The Hague

Deposit refund Netherlands Belgium

Photo credits: Robin Balou/Statiegeldalliantie

 

Photo of CD&V President Joachim Coens at the action Thursday 1 July in Antwerp

Photos of the events in Scheveningen (NL) and Antwerp (BE)

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