Converting empty bottles and cans into new ones conserves resources and reduces climate change.
You get a few Danish kroner as your personal benefit when you return a bottle or can and get the deposit. But the benefits of recycling are much more valuable.
The world does not have unlimited raw materials. The crude oil used for making plastic bottles was created under the oceans between 10 million and 60 million years ago and cannot be renewed. In general terms, the world’s population uses 1.5 times as many resources annually as the planet can produce.
Local ecosystems become overloaded when raw materials are extracted to produce new bottles and cans. Making 1 kg of aluminium for cans requires mining 4 kg of bauxite in such places as Brazil and Australia. This denudes mining areas of trees and plants, reducing the diversity of wildlife and disrupting ecosystems.
Recycling also uses less energy than extracting raw materials to produce new bottles and cans. Melting cans and converting them into new ones requires 95% less energy than converting bauxite ore into aluminium.