From significant cost savings for municipalities to higher collection and recycling rates, deposit return systems (DRS) for beverage containers have many benefits. Zero Waste Europe has prepared a short primer explaining how deposit systems work and how they can be used to help Europe move towards a circular economy. Its ‘Deposit Return Scheme Manifesto’ also outlines 15 reasons why countries should implement DRS:
1. DRS achieve highest rates of separate collection – around 90%1 in Europe.
2. DRS are one of the most efficient instruments to tackle plastic leakage into the oceans and the environment. DRS can reduce drink containers2 in the ocean by up to 40%3.
3. DRS for single-use items are a stepping stone towards more reuse, which is preferable to recycling4.
4. DRS result in net savings for municipalities and they do not imply extra costs for public institutions.
5. DRS are the only way to meet the 90% separate collection target for plastic beverage bottles by 2029 set in the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive5 and will help reach other recycling and landfill targets.
6. DRS is a tool supported by many Fast Moving Consumer Goods companies6.
7. DRS for reuse is an effective tool for helping citizens visualise the impact of their actions.
8. Public support rates for DRS are above 80%7.
9. When properly implemented, DRS for refillables generate 50% less CO2 emissions than DRS for single-use items.
10. DRS create local jobs and supports a thriving local economy9.
11. DRS promote eco-design for better recycling
12. DRS provide higher quality recyclate, which has a much higher market price11.
13. DRS are the best system to allow for bottle-to-bottle recycling.
14. DRS can finance themselves, no matter what system (manual or automatic) is chosen.
15. DRS are an exemplary way to implement the Extended Producer Responsibility principles.