‘Pant’: Denmark recycles more cans and bottles than ever before

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 20 Mar, 2023 Updated Mon 20 Mar 2023 15:31 CEST
‘Pant’: Denmark recycles more cans and bottles than ever before
Around 5.4 million bottles and cans are returned every day via Denmark's 'pant' recycling system -- approximately one for every member of the population. Photo: Dansk Retursystem

The number of bottles and cans recycled under Denmark’s ‘pant’ system set a new record last year, topping two billion units for the first time ever.


The number is equivalent to one recycled can or bottle per person in Denmark every day throughout the year, according to a press release by Dansk Retursystem, the company which operates the recycling system.

The figure is based on an annual report by the company totalling the amount of bottle and can recycling that ran through its systems in 2022.


There were signs as early as July last that an annual record will be set, according to the Dansk Retursystem statement. In that month, 200 million bottles and cans were returned via the “pant” system, which was a record for a calendar month.

The pant system is based on a small surcharge being paid on every bottle at the point of purchase. The surcharge, or deposit, is paid back to consumers when bottles are returned via specialized machines, which are located at most supermarkets.

In total, the excess of 2 billion cans and bottles for water, juice, soda and beer returned throughout the year was a 3.9 percent hike on the previous record, which was set in 2021.

Dansk Retursystem CEO Lars Krejberg Petersen praised consumers for “keeping up the good ‘pant’ habits” in Monday’s statement.

“We are obviously grateful at Dansk Retursystem for the large quantity of returns. It is based on support from consumers that we can ensure bottles and cans are reused for new things,” he said.

“In 2022 alone, this meant that we reduced CO2 admissions by 223,000 tonnes by recycling materials in comparison with having to produce new bottles and cans from virgin plastic, glass and aluminium,” he said.

For every 100 bottles and cans sold with the ‘pant’ mark on it, 92 were returned in Denmark last year. A return percentage of 92 percent is one of the highest of the world for recycling of drinks packaging.


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