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Depositing a plastic bottle, Source: Ministry of the Environment on Facebook

Slovakia introduces deposit system for plastic bottles and cans

Slovakia introduces deposit system for plastic bottles and cans

You can now receive a voucher when recycling disposable beverage packaging

On 3 January, Slovakia’s Minister of the Environment, Ján Budaj, unveiled the country’s new deposit system for plastic bottles and aluminum cans. According to the ministry, the system has already proven effective, with many European countries successfully reducing their waste and collecting a large portion of the disposable packaging. 

How does it work?

Under the new deposit system, the cost of beverages in disposable containers will increase by 15 cents. Once the buyer has consumed the contents of the bottles and cans, they will be able to deposit them into machines located in grocery stores and supermarkets.

If the containers are not damaged, the machine will issue a coupon with the value of the collected packaging. Buyers can then use these coupons at cash registers in one of two ways; they can either get a discount on their next purchase or receive the amount in cash. 

As of January 2022, the country will gradually install these machines in supermarkets in more than 2,000 cities. While larger chains and stores will offer the option to choose between discounts or cash, small stores will only offer discounts.

What containers can you deposit?

All plastic bottles and cans with a volume of 0.1 L to 3 L can be deposited in the new machines; however, they must be marked with the letter Z (from the Slovak word for deposit). The ministry warns citizens that stores may continue selling containers without this marking until the end of June 2022. The buyers of these unmarked bottles and cans will not be able to deposit them.

In addition to this, the machines will also reject bottles that have previously contained milk, beverages with milk, syrups, or hard alcohol. 

Collecting 90% of disposable beverage packaging

Praising the new system, Minister Ján Budaj shared that it aims to collect at least 90% of disposable beverage packaging. This is crucial when considering the fact that European legislation requires all countries to have a collection rate of 90% for the plastic packaging of beverages by 2029.

With the launch of this new system, Slovakia now hopes to meet this target.

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