Norway has a highly effective nationwide deposit and recycling system for non-refillable beverage packaging. Infinitum administers the system.
Non-refillable beverage packaging offered for sale in Norway carries both a basic levy and an environmental levy.* The size of the environmental levy falls as the rate of packaging returns increases. And once the return rate reaches 95 per cent, it ceases to be applied at all.
Products included in the deposit system display Infinitum’s distinctive symbol. This symbol assures the consumers that the deposit will be refunded when the empty packaging is returned. Infinitum’s easy-to-read symbol also guides store staff who handle returns manually.
*The Norwegian recycling system is a statutory scheme that imposes a basic levy and an environmental levy on beverage packaging regardless of its point of origin. Infinitum is a non-profit organization owned by Norwegian bottlers and retailers. Beverages with the following contents are exempt from environmental levy: Raw pressed juice, juice concentrates, juice, fruit nectars, fruit syrup, beverages made from vegetables, powdered products, and fruit and berry squashes and concentrates. A more detailed definition of products exempt from the environmental levy can be obtained from the Norwegian Customs and Excise. Milk, milk products, cocoa and chocolate beverages and powders are also exempt from the basic levy.
1. Joining Infinitum
The first time a beverage producer or importer registers a product for sale in Norway, the company must join Infinitum by signing and returning Infinitum’s standard agreement. To sign the agreement you need a Norwegian organisation number. When you join Infinitum, a one-time registration fee of NOK 10.000 must be paid.
2. Product Registration
When a company registers a new product, Infinitum must receive the registration form, including bar code number, six weeks before the product is launched in the Norwegian market. Registering a new product costs NOK 2.000 (The six week lead-time is needed to update bar code readers in all reverse vending machines, and for Norwegian Customs and Excise processing.)
3. PET Bottle Testing
The Technical specifications form for PET bottles must be completed and submitted to Infinitum before a product is launched in the Norwegian market. Four bottles must be submitted to Infinitum for shape acceptability testing six weeks before market launch.
4. Approval of Deposit Symbol and Bar code
The deposit symbol and bar code as they appear on the packaging must be submitted for approval either electronically or on paper. Approvals are sent by regular mail or email.
5. Technical Testing
15 cans/bottles of each EAN-code must be submitted to Infinitum for final technical testing before the product launches. Final technical tests take about a week to complete; the results are emailed to you.
Your product may be launched in the Norwegian market once its design is approved, technical testing is successfully completed, and the six-week approval period has ended.
You must submit a sales report to Infinitum every month. Your monthly deposit and administration fee invoice from Infinitum is based on this report.
Importer’s and producers liability:
If beverage packaging fails to satisfy applicable requirements, products that have already been shipped to market may not be approved; they may thus not qualify for a fee reduction. Problems with applicable requirements may include poor bar code readability by reverse vending machines (improper color usage, insuffcient contrast etc.) For PET there may also be problems arising from bottle shape. Producers and importers bear the risk associated with any packaging shortcomings.