Deposit-refund system is about to make its debut in Romania on the last day of this month, Source: Depositphotos

Romania to become latest EU country with deposit-refund system

Romania to become latest EU country with deposit-refund system

Customers will be able to get money back after returning empty beverage containers, starting on 30 November

Romania is looking forward to 30 November – the day when the new deposit-refund system for recyclable plastic containers will officially launch in the country. The government aims to institute this important step as part of the drive towards a functional circular economy and increasing decarbonization rates.

From the last of the month onward, shops selling recyclable beverage containers made of recyclable plastic, glass or aluminium will have to accept back used bottles and pay 0.50 lei (0.10 euro cents) for each of them to customers.

Delays on the road to implementation

Introducing the sustainable collection system in the Eastern European country has not been a smooth process. In reality, it was originally meant to take off back in January 2021 at the height of the COVID pandemic.

It was then postponed to 1 October 2022 and then once again to the current date. As things turned out, it was large-size retailers in the country that were behind the delays.

"The Romanian government has shown flexibility and understanding, but we cannot perpetuate this model of postponement," said environmental minister Mircea Fechet, who asserted that he will personally insert the first PET bottle into the automatic collection machine on 30 November.

Interestingly enough, the system, which in Romania bears the name RetuRO, was created in its initial phase by the associations of beverage producers and traders in the country, and only later did the Romanian state become involved.

With this, the Eastern European country will join the ranks of others in the EU, which had already implemented the system seen as a key part of a circular economy. According to a July 2023 report by Investigate Europe, deposit and refund schemes are already active in 13 European countries, with most of them having a functioning system before 2007. Since then, only Lithuania has introduced it, in 2016.



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