In the midst of renewed discussions on how to reach resource efficiency and boost circular economy in Europe, economic incentives and deposits appear in the discussions around potential instruments to help achieve ambitious targets and fight littering. ACR+ has explored the existing experiences with deposit-refund systems across Europe in a newly released report, focusing on one-way beverage packaging.

DRSreport Brussels, Belgium – The EU Circular Economy Action Plan and the recently revised waste legislation are paving the way to a true circular economy in the EU. For this to realise, concrete measures need to be implem ented at national, regional and local levels in the coming years. Different instruments and approaches are possible and experts and policy-makers are looking for solutions regarding their implementation and possible effects.

 Among the possible instruments, currently subject to heated discussions, are deposit-refund systems whereby a consumer is asked to pay an additional visible amount of money – a “deposit” – on top of the product price and can claim this money back if he brings back the product (or its empty packaging) to an approved collection point.

At the request of its members, the Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource management (ACR+) has examined the application of deposit-refund systems for beverage packaging which is intended to be used only once before being discarded by the consumer. ACR+ explored existing experiences across ten European countries: Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. The information has been compiled in a report entitled “Deposit-refund systems for one-way beverage packaging in Europe”. Relying on available facts and data, the report presents an informative overview of existing examples and approaches in Europe. It aims to support policy-makers in making better and more informed decisions.

The report was revealed for a first time during an event of the EPR Club – the European multistakeholder platform for discussion and exchange of information on Extended Producer Responsibility. The event included interventions of different stakeholders, followed by an open debate with the wider audience, providing the floor different perspectives on the role of deposits within the mix of instruments put in place to help driving the circularity of packaging.

The complete report “Deposit-refund systems for one-way beverage packaging in Europe”, as well as the 10 country case studies individually, can be found on the ACR+ website.


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