Closing the loop: Examining deposit refund schemes in Europe

In a deposit refund scheme (DRS), consumers pay a deposit when they buy a beverage and get it back when they return the empty container. These systems have been around for a long time and lately have seen increased adoption around the world. The Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation proposal includes requirements for EU member states to implement a DRS and collect at least 90% of the materials in packaging waste separately – a challenging target to reach without systems like DRSs. This means that in the EU, DRSs will become more common. Setting up a new DRS involves multiple players, who all need to adapt their operations to the new system. We review the impacts that DRSs have on players and the important considerations for a successful DRS.