To pant in Norway is to return a drinks bottle or can to the supermarket and get a refund of the deposit you paid when purchasing. Simples!
(you can of course pant in other ways too, but I won’t cover those here)
Returning items for the deposit has long been a part of Norwegian society. Most supermarkets contain “reverse vending” machines which take the bottles and cans in exchange for a receipt, which you cash in at the till. You can feed in other bottles and cans too (for example some cans from the duty-free don’t have pant) and the machine still takes them for recycling, you just don’t get any credit. Here’s a little video Gerry made to show his family how it worked…
According to Wikipedia, in 2005 93% of all recyclable bottles and 80% of all drink cans in Norway were returned. This seems accurate. There’s often a queue at the machines or if not then they’re often full and bleeping away merrily. In addition, it’s not just householders who collect the bottles and cans.
One of my first memories of Norway was the number of folk actively hunting out bottles and cans on the streets. Some homeless, some not. At one outdoor concert I counted at least four people wandering around with bulging black sacks full of discarded bottles. It sure keeps the streets clean.
It also encourages you to clear up after a house party. Here’s some of the empties from a party I threw not so long ago, surveyed by my hungover friend Brian. I was refunded 63 kroner (about £7) which just about paid for the asprin…
You get 1kr (10p) on cans and small 0.5l bottles, and 2.5kr (25p) on 1.5l bottles. Not bad!
I’m too young to remember the deposits on beer bottles in the UK (!) but I do remember the old system of getting your milk (and orange juice) from the milkman and returning the empties! It’s a shame those days are behind us because many local councils still can’t recycle milk cartons = more waste! Some other countries around Europe operate container deposit legislation but it’s definitely the Nordic countries that lead the way. And in typical Nordic fashion, the system is straightforward and the system works.
UK take note! Anyway, I have to go. I’m off to pant…