Circular return system for returnable glass bottles

The project aims to establish a circular return system for refillable glass bottles, instead of crushing and remelting the bottles as is done in the current deposit system. The project will implement an innovative business model developed in collaboration with Niras, the Danish Technological Institute and Arla Foods to promote recycling and reduce CO2 emissions.

The overall goal of the project is to create a sustainable and efficient glass bottle recycling system that significantly reduces CO2 emissions from beverage packaging and promotes a circular economy. This initiative will help conserve resources and reduce waste, while supporting local beverage producers and strengthening Bornholm’s position as a testing ground for innovative solutions.

Return system Bornholm will implement and operate a circular return system for refillable glass bottles in cooperation with beverage producers. The system will include the administration of a new deposit system, the collection of used bottles via various waste streams and collection systems, and the sorting and washing of bottles before they are returned to the beverage producers.

Circular return system for refillable glass bottles

The project will act as a coordinating focal point, bringing together stakeholders in the value chain through a legal and practical business model. By leveraging existing waste streams and collection systems, the business model enables efficient collection and refilling of glass bottles, reducing the need for crushing and remelting.

According to a previous environmental assessment prepared by Niras, this solution is expected to reduce CO2 emissions from beverage packaging by approximately 60%. This means that for every 1 million glass bottles refilled annually instead of being crushed and remelted, CO2 emissions will be reduced by approximately 100 tons of CO2e per year.

The project is set up as a development and demonstration project, starting in Bornholm, to gather data and experience that can form the basis for a later implementation of the business model throughout Denmark and possibly in other countries. This project marks Bornholm’s role as a pioneer in sustainable recycling and can serve as a scalable example of locally rooted solutions with global relevance.

01/01/2024 – 31/07/2024


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