Netherlands

Return your plastic bottles and collect your deposit at Dutch train stations

By the end of this year, anyone travelling via one of the five largest train stations in the Netherlands will no longer have to worry about throwing away their plastic bottles and missing out on their 15-cent deposit. Instead, they’ll be able to return their bottles immediately at one of the machines at the stations and will receive their cash back directly into their bank account via a Tikkie payment. 

Hand in your plastic statiegeldflesjes at train stations in the Netherlands

Last summer, the Dutch government introduced a 15-cent deposit on small plastic bottles, with shoppers being able to claim their money back at supermarkets and petrol stations across the country. At the time, the government said this would eventually be possible at train stations as well – and that Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) had already taken the first steps to make this plan a reality. 

As of earlier this month, machines have been set up at the central station in Utrecht, allowing travellers to collect their deposit back for small and large plastic bottles while still on the go. By the end of 2022, machines will also be set up at stations in Amsterdam, RotterdamThe Hague and Eindhoven

While at supermarkets, customers are able to use their deposit to get a small discount on their shop, NS has set up a system so that travellers receive their deposit via Tikkie by scanning a QR code with their mobile phone. They’ll also have the option to immediately donate the money to charity. 

NS sets up collection points for empty plastic bottles 

According to NS, approximately 11.000 plastic bottles are thrown away every day at Utrecht Centraal, but the company hopes the introduction of these so-called reverse vending machines will encourage travellers to recycle their bottles instead. Within just one week, around 1.500 bottles were handed in at Utrecht Centraal. 

Eventually, NS plans to have collection points at 50 of its train stations, and in time will establish a similar system for cans when the deposit rule comes into effect. “With the arrival of these return machines, NS hopes that these bottles can be used again,” NS says. “We encourage all travellers to make the more sustainable choice and hand in their plastic bottle.”

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