Cans and plastic bottles make up around 40% of the litter in Brussels, Source: Nicholas Bartos / Unsplash

Brussels adopts a deposit system for plastics and cans

Brussels adopts a deposit system for plastics and cans

In 2022, this type of trash made up around 40% of all the litter collected in the city

Yesterday, local authorities in the city of Brussels announced they will introduce a deposit system for some single-use containers like plastic bottles and aluminium. To do this, the local government became part of the Alliance pour la Consigne (Alliance for Deposits), an organisation lobbying local governments to adopt the measure in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The organisation started its activities in 2017 and has had tremendous success in the Netherlands with around 98% of municipalities adopting the deposit system. At the same time, in Belgium, their success has been more limited, with just 60% of municipalities adopting their propositions.

Expanding the deposit system from glass bottles  

The deposit system for specific single-use containers is nothing new, a similar system for glass bottles has been in place in Belgium for years. Essentially in a deposit system, people would pay a markup on a product like a can of Coke. When they are done, they should be able to return the can and get that markup back.

In 2022, Brussels city authorities collected around 2,334 tons of litter from the streets and plastic bottles and cans made up around 40% of that litter. Implementing these measures can go a long way to reduce these figures and promote a lot more recycling.

However, this expansion does present its own challenges – the biggest of which is providing a reliable point where citizens can get their money back. Additionally, because of the unique makeup of the Brussels Capital Region, implementing the deposit effectively could present a host of unique challenges.

This is because the city of Brussels is one small part of the Brussels metropolitan area and the Brussels Capital Region features other municipalities as well, although they are part of the same continuous urban area.  



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