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Sweden (1984–2005)

Until the 2006 enactment of the "Ordinance on the return system for plastic bottles and metal cans," Sweden had two separate systems for the management of plastic bottles and aluminum cans, described below. Click here for information about the current system.

SFS 1982 349

Law Summary set a mandatory recycling rate for aluminum cans, to reduce litter and solid waste.
Date Implemented 1984 (passed 1982); amended 1986 and 1994.
Containers Covered Aluminum cans
Beverages Covered All beverages in aluminum cans
Refundable Deposits
  • Aluminum cans: U.S. 7¢ (voluntary)
  • One-way PET: U.S. 14¢ -24¢ (voluntary)
  • Refillable PET: U.S. 56¢ (voluntary)

SFS 1993 1154

Law Summary Producer responsibility law for glass and cardboard packaging
Date Implemented January 1994
Containers Covered One-way glass containers
Beverages Covered Beverages in one-way glass containers
Refundable Deposits Unknown

Both Laws

Program Success Containers are recovered at the following rates:
  • One way PET: 40%
  • Refillable PET: 75%
  • One-way glass: 45%
  • Aluminum cans: 91% (Sweden has the highest return rate for aluminum cans of any country in the world.)
Refillables comprise the following portions of the following markets:
  • Beer and Soft Drinks: 38%
  • Wine and Liquor: 50%
  • Refillable PET: 60%
Trippage rate:
  • Glass 20 – 30 trips
  • Refillable PET 10 trips


SFS 1982 349 required that aluminum cans be recycled at a rate of 90% or face a ban. The response by industry was to implement a voluntary deposit system for aluminum cans. In 1994, the government required that the minimum recycling rate for aluminum cans be raised to 90% and PET be 90%. Since, Sweden has achieved a 91% recycling rate for aluminum cans, the hightest in the world.

The refillables system enjoys increased efficiency since most 33 cl. refillables in Sweden are of a uniform shape and size so that they do not require sorting by brand. This standardized system was devised by the brewers and bottlers.

Updated June 29, 2011

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