The EPR Club convened its first Lunch-Debate of the year last 26 March, commencing with a deep dive into insights from ACR+'s report on DRS. The presentation highlighted significant developments and expansions in DRS implementation since 2019, with pre-existing systems witnessing coverage expansions and adjustments to deposit fees, while new countries demonstrated ease in expansion once established.  

Following this, TOMRA presented a case study on Aarhus' innovative deposit system for takeaway packaging, showcasing a deposit-refund model that promotes return and reuse. Aarhus' open managed system, featuring over 70,000 cups in operation across 29 machines and involving 40 cafes, underscored the importance of policy incentives in addressing disposable food packaging. Additionally, insights from the European Container Glass Federation shed light on why DRS might not be the optimal approach for boosting closed-loop glass recycling, emphasising the need to maintain effective Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes for glass recycling. It was argued that DRS may not maximise the quantity or quality of recycled glass, instead advocating for simple and consistent collection methods alongside effective public communication initiatives to achieve the highest recycling rates for glass by 2030.  

The discussions that followed focused on strategies to elevate DRS from recycling to reuse within the waste hierarchy and implications of recent negotiations on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, aiming for nuanced policy decisions to address challenges and opportunities in advancing recycling practices across Europe. 

Watch the recording here. 

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