On almost every drink bottle or plastic wrapper in 23 countries in Europe, you can find a “Green Dot” logo: a circle with two swirling green arrows inside. The symbol represents a system of waste separation into yellow bins and blue bags, run by organisations dedicated to recycling used packaging.

However, this cross-border investigation reveals that Green Dot organisations across the continent have opposed national and European environmental legislation aimed at giving more responsibility to the industry to combat plastic litter, such as introducing deposit refunds for plastic bottles.

Belgian journalist Isabelle Vanhoutte and German journalist Benedict Wermter investigated Green Dot companies in Europe for more than a year. Their investigation exposes how the powerful Green Dot sector operates through national and international networks to lower costs and boost profits, all the while scapegoating consumers for littering.

Green Dot organisations have created a monopoly in most countries, sometimes operating opaquely and distorting competition, the investigation supported by IJ4EU and Journalismfund.eu finds.

The journalists spoke to scientists and industry experts and got their hands on internal documents. Their insights into conflicts of interest in the Green Dot business are published in collaboration with Correctiv (Germany) and Apache, Médor and EUobserver (Belgium).

More stories coming soon…

Photo: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

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