Petition for a deposit system completed

We’ve made it! It took us almost 12 long months, a lot of perseverance, a few cold days out talking to people in the street and some wrist pain from numbering them – but there they are, our  15.000 signatures!

Why, you say? For our petition in favour of:

  • introducing of a deposit system on cans and plastic bottles
  • promoting more reusable packaging
  • promoting the use of more recycled plastic instead of virgin plastic.

During our kayak trips, we noticed that 35 to 40% of the trash we find in the canal consist in beverage packaging. So, instead of bowing down to fish it out, we thought we had better tackle the problem at its root and prevent it to end up in the canal in the first place. Prevention is better than cure!

And that’s why we launched a petition last Summer to collect 15.000 signatures to obtain an audition in front of the Flemish and Brussels parliament, just as Régine Florent did some time ago in front of the Walloon parliament.

But why a deposit system? The blue garbage bag is an efficient system but it works only for the beverages we consume at home. It doesn’t help reduce littering. The campaigns launched by Fost Plus, such as De Mooimakers in Flanders or BeWapp in Wallonia, which invite people to pick up litter in their daily life, are not producing results either. The amount of litter keeps increasing every year. And the problem with this strategy is that it puts the blame on the consumers, without questioning the industry that produces all the packaging. This very industry is fighting against the introduction of a deposit system because it would mean that it has to face its responsibilities in the matter of trash management.
This tactic isn’t a new one and it’s being used by other sectors as well, such as the fossil fuel industry in the climate debate. Individual actions and respect for nature are essential, for sure, but the problem will never be solved without a change in the system.

The Netherlands have introduced a deposit system on plastic bottles last year and will extend it to cans at the end of this year. In Germany, the system has been in place since 2002, in Sweden since 1984. Denmark, Croatia, Estonia and Norway also have it, to name a few others, and more countries will follow the lead soon. No more proof is needed regarding its efficiency.  

Of course, it will mean extra costs for the industry. Of course, the authorities will have to develop a collection system. But a deposit would also relieve the municipalities from the huge costs of roadside cleaning, public trash bins would fill up less rapidly and we would all take a step forward towards a more circular society and cleaner nature. So, when do we start?

A big thanks to all of you who signed the petition to bring about change, to the participants to our kayak trips, to the whole Canal It Up team, to Régine Florent, Klimaan, Marc Kayak, Couleur Café, Gentse Milieufront, Gezondheidsmarkt De Vrije Natuur, Nature & Découverte, Food Hub, Färm, Fox & Cie, Propere Strandloper, to those we’ve forgotten to mention and, last but certainly not least, to our dedicated moms!