Finnish retailer Kesko has announced that its customers returned around 614 million cans and bottles for recycling in 2020.
The used cans and bottles were deposited in the reverse vending machines at K-food stores.
The number of deposit beverage containers returned by consumers increased by almost 10% year-on-year, from around 562 million in 2019.
Finland is one of the leading countries in the world for recycling beverage containers.
In October of last year, K-Citymarket Kupittaa set a world record for bottle collection after 33,328 cans and bottles were returned to a single machine in one day.
Tommi Vihavainen, director at Palpa, commented, “The recycling rates of beverage containers are very high in Finland, as more than 90% of all bottles and cans end up being recycled.
“Last year, there was an increase in the consumption of beverages at home, which also further increased the number of beverage containers returned.”
The promotion of the circular economy is one of the cornerstones of K Group’s sustainability strategy, and recycling is an important part of this process, the retailer noted.
In recent years, Kesko has introduced deposit bottles for many of its own-brand products such as Pirkka squash, fresh-squeezed juices and Pirkka Parhaat smoothie.
'A Key Role'
Timo Jäske, vice-president for sustainability in K Group’s grocery trade division, said, “Recycling plays a key role in getting materials back into circulation and reused for new purposes.
“By adding deposits to Pirkka squash bottles, for example, we can get an extra 40 tonnes of plastic waste back into circulation.”
Around 93% of deposit PET bottles in Finland are recycled into new bottles, the retailer added.
Colourless PET bottles are converted into material used for making other items such as raincoats, while aluminium cans are recycled into new cans.