About a decade ago I spent 2 weeks in Belgium. What impressed my wife and I was that many perishable products such as milk, yoghurt and drinks were sold in standard size and shape, sturdy, re-useable/returnable plastic bottles and jars. Is this still the case?
Clearly, certain food industry combines hate that as then cannot differentiate their products based on container shape and size. While glass might have some more desirable characteristics, tightly controlled plastic life cycles are I suspect a pretty good choice. From a recycling perspective after the reuse life is over, this tight control means that the recycled material is a premium product which can be recycled for higher value items.
I checked the strong plastic milk bottles I get at the moment in the Baleares and discover that they weight 36g for a one litre bottle. I reckon that is almost certainly hefty enough for re-use but instead it goes into the recycling bin for packaging. Apart from the aluminum cans, I suspect everything in the bin gets burned, perhaps after being shipped half way across the planet.
For my own information I checked how much plastic packaging I dropped into the container earlier this week. I was surprise that it was 450g (1lb). I would have guessed much less. The milk bottles made up about half of it.
So does Belgium still have "generic" re-useable plastic bottles and jars?