All retailers of soft drinks and low-alcohol beverages whose POS has an area of 200 m2 are obligated to accept a packaging deposit at their POS
In Estonia, the responsible producers’ organisation Eesti Pandipakend, is active in organising the recycling of packaging marketed by producers, importers and traders. Their task is to manage and organise collection, transport, sorting, counting and recycling of packaging subject to deposit throughout Estonia, i.e. they deal with plastic, glass and metal packaging for water, fizzy drinks, beer and low-alcohol beverages.
Eesti Pandipakend is acting with accreditation of the MInistry if the Environment.
packaging is collected by the retail seller. Transport of the packaging collected to the counting and sorting centre is organised by Eesti Pandipakend. Packaging without the Eesti Pandipakend marking cannot be accepted for return and no deposiit is refundable. This packaging can taken to public packaging containers, and consists of bottles from strong alcoholic beverages, grass jars, sallad boxes, foodstuff packaging, and Tetrapak packaging, etc.
According to the Packaging Act a packaging undertaking shall collect and recover the packaging of packaged goods placed on the market and the resulting packaging waste in such a way that recovery targets are complied with, and bear the resulting costs.
Evidence of success
The quantity of returned deposit packaging is very high. The return rate is near 90 %. In 2016 88% of PET packages was returned, 74% of CAN returned and 87% OWG (one-way glass) was returned.
It is quite expensive for companies, who are obliged to accept deposit packaging at their POS or on its service land. The main costs are associated with buying and maintaining packaging vending machines.
Potential for learning or transfer
The packaging deporit refund system is very effective and helps packaging waste not to end up ind the environment and send them to recycling. The collection rate is up to 90% - due to the fact that people pay the deposit when buying a beverage which automatically motivates them to return these packages to the collection points to get a refund. The vending machine used at the deposit-packaging colletion points compresses the plastic and metal cans on site which minimises transport costs and also CO2 emissions. To get the best results it is mandatory to implement this system in national level. It helps to minimize waste collection costs for public authorities as no additional motivation is needed for people. System has also social aspect as homeless people collect the abandoned bottles and earn mony when returning them to automate. This system is very helpful to achieving the recycling target set by EU.