Deposit Refund Systems

State of implementation of Deposit Refund Systems (DRS) across Europe

    • Countries with DRS in place (% given is for collection rates for PET bottles)

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      Countries where DRS will soon be introduced or where DRS are still under discussion

          Packaging scope for soft drinks:

          • In Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Malta, Norway, Lithuania: PET, aluminium cans, glass bottles
          • In the Netherlands, Sweden: PET bottles, aluminium cans

          Countries with DRS achieve higher collection rates:

          • In countries with DRS in place, collection rates are very high, from 65% to 95% for PET Bottles.
          • In countries without DRS, collection rates are lower, ranging from 22% to 73%, with the notable exception of Belgium (85%).


          • Slovakia introduced a Deposit Refund System on 1 January 2022.
          • Latvia introduced a Deposit Refund System on 1 February 2022.
          • Malta launched a Deposit Refund System on 14 November 2022.
          • Romania launched a Deposit Refund System on 30 November 2023.
          • Hungary launched a Deposit Refund System on 1 January 2024.
          • Ireland launched a Deposit Refund System on 1 February 2024.

          Joint action with Zero Waste Europe and Natural Mineral Waters Europe on Deposit Refund Systems (DRS)

          Deposit Refund Systems (DRS) are key to achieving a circular economy for beverage packaging

          Well-designed Deposit Refund Systems (DRS) can help the non-alcoholic beverage industry achieve higher collection rates of beverage packaging. Therefore, rolling out more well-functioning DRS across Europe is key. This can only be done successfully with the support from the European Commission.

          That’s why UNESDA, in collaboration with Zero Waste Europe and Natural Mineral Waters Europe (NMWE), issued a joint press release on 6 October 2021 calling on the European Commission to introduce minimum requirements for new Deposit Refund Systems (DRS) in the revision of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. The press release lays down the key principles for setting up new efficient DRS for beverage packaging, including on material scope, return rates, governance, system design, redemption points, and access to recycled materials.

          In addition, UNESDA, jointly with Zero Waste Europe and NMWE, published an article on minimum requirements for new DRS in Europe.

          How well-designed DRS can help reach the collection targets set in the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive

          NMWE and UNESDA are calling for a wide deployment of well-designed Deposit Refund Systems to meet the collection and rPET targets of the EU Single-Use Plastics Directive.

          NMWE and UNESDA propose a set of 6 fundamental design criteria which will improve DRS efficiency when setting them up in EU Member States.

          Read more.

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