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

by Rob Buurman | 1 July 2021

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.


Related articles

Het Laatste Nieuws, Statiegeldalliantie wil dat België Nederlands voorbeeld volgt, 1 juli 2021

EenVandaag, Vanaf nu ook statiegeld op kleine plastic flessen, 1 juli 2021

MSN, Statiegeldalliantie viert feest vandaag, 1 juli 2021

AD, Vanaf 1 juli ook statiegeld op kleine plastic flesjes, 30 juni 2021

Test Aankoop, Test Aankoop pleit voor statiegeld op blik en petflesjes

Telegraaf, Pakketjes duurder, wegwerpplastic verboden en rookruimtes dicht: dit verandert er vanaf 1 juli, 1 juli 2021

Distrifood, Innocent wil statiegeld op eigen smoothieflessen, 1 juli 2021

RTV Drenthe, Stelling: Fijn dat er statiegeld zit op kleine flesjes

Hart van Nederland, Kleine flesjes kunnen vanaf vandaag ook ingeleverd worden, maar welke precies en waar?

NOS,, Minimumloon omhoog, huur bevroren, statiegeld op flesjes: dit gaat veranderen per 1 juli, 27 juni 2021

BN De Stem, Sportclubs profiteren van statiegeld op plastic flesjes, nieuwe manier van doneren


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

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)

Related Tags


[Position paper] On the road to ambitious Deposit Return Systems all over Europe

[Position paper] On the road to ambitious Deposit Return Systems all over Europe

While the general ambitions of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), especially regarding the reuse targets, have been largely watered down by industry lobbies, we do still welcome the direction given to DRS in the new revision of the PPWR. With this joint letter – signed by 50 European organizations – we comment on the regulation, which consecrates DRS as a solution to increase selective collection, foster reuse and harmonize beverage packaging collection in Europe.

read more