Make money from your plastic bottles and help reduce waste

6 February 2019 by DIF ICT and Facilities

Plastic bottles will be worth money at Avans in the near future. We will be collecting PET plastic bottles separately from Monday 11 February. As a reward you will receive a discount on your purchase at the cafeteria. You also stand a chance to win a fabulous prize. Avans is the first university of applied sciences in the Netherlands to introduce this kind of recycling. 

For this project, we are working closely with Coca-Cola European Partners and our catering service provider Eurest. Together we aim to reduce litter and encourage re-use of plastics.

Valuable plastics

On average, more than 1,000 drinks bottles are sold at Avans every day. Some of them are thrown in the plastic bins after use. Other bottles end up as residual waste or even as litter. A shame, because the plastic used to make PET bottles is the most valuable type of plastic. It’s virtually clean packaging material that is easy to recycle. 


Studies show that, on the whole, people are not prepared to throw their bottles into reverse vending machines if they don’t receive a reward. That’s why every bottle you return will be worth at least 10 cents. This is not a deposit, it’s a real reward, since it hasn’t been added to the selling price.
PET bottles that haven’t been bought at Avans can also be returned here. This way we hope to encourage students who buy drinks on the go to keep their bottles with them until they arrive at Avans. This will prevent them from littering. 

The new PET bottle machines are designed to return individual bottles rather than large quantities of bottles. 

How it works

PET bottle reverse vending machines will be installed at the 3 large Avans buildings: Hogeschoollaan 1, Lovensdijkstraat 63 and Onderwijsboulevard 215. Returning a bottle at one of these machines will earn you a voucher worth 10 cents.
You can redeem this voucher in the cafeteria to receive a discount on your purchase. You can also save for a full stamp card. In this case, you hand in your voucher at the till to earn a stamp. Handing in a full stamp card will not only earn you a discount: you also stand a chance to win a prize and an ever greater discount!

In the other Avans buildings, giant bottle-shaped bins will be placed near the till in the cafeteria. If you throw a bottle into one of these bins, you will immediately receive either a discount on your purchase or a stamp on your stamp card.

Why Avans is participating in this

Avans strives to encourage re-use of plastic and to minimise litter in and around our premises. We also want to make our students and staff aware of the importance of recycling.
Any PET bottles returned will remain intact when transported from Avans to the recycler. Little plastic is lost because doesn’t mix with other plastics. As a result, virtually everything can be used to make new PET bottles.

Apart from this, we will continue to separate waste in the same way: chiefly paper, plastics and residual waste. The new PET reverse vending machines are expected to reduce our residual waste and plastic waste volumes.

Facts about waste at a glance

  • In the Netherlands, some 50 to 100 million bottles end up littering the streets and roadsides every year.
  • Coca-Cola wants every PET bottle sold in Netherlands returned to the company for recycling by 2025. That’s why it launched the ‘World Without Waste’ campaign.
  • More than 40,000 kilos of waste are produced at Avans every year. In terms of volume, this equals nearly 550,000 litres. This amounts to nearly 8 big trucks filled with waste every single month. 
  • Over 40 percent of the waste produced at Avans ends up as residual waste. More than 30 percent is paper or cardboard and another 10 percent is plastic.
  • Coca-Cola European Partners PET bottles are 100% suitable for recycling. Regular plastic waste is often contaminated and is made up of different types of plastic. Not all of these are suitable for recycling. The possibilities for new end products are also more limited in the case of contaminated plastics.
  • Eurest, our catering services provider, invests a great deal in sustainable packaging. Salad bowls, for example, are made from recycled plastics. Soup cups are biodegradable. And smaller plates and dishes are made from sugar cane pulp.
Last updated on 6 February 2019.