A new programme aiming to boost the recycling and collection of seven billion drink containers has kicked off in Romania.
This new deposit return system (DRS) seeks to promote separate collection and recycling of beverage containers by giving them a financial value and incentivising consumers to return them, according to media reports.
The move sees Romania joining 13 other European countries that have introduced a DRS system.
The DRS covers all single-use glass, plastic, and metal beverage containers from 0.1 to 3 litres, excluding milk.
Consumers pay a deposit of RON 0.50 (€0.10) per container, which is reimbursed when they return the empty container, featuring the RetuRO logo and a barcode, to a designated automated or manual return point.
The scheme aims to achieve a 77% collection rate by 2025 and 90% by 2029, driving a circular economy.
Norwegian beverage recycling company Tomra is providing reverse vending machines (RVMs) to retailers of all sizes in Romania to automate the return process and reduce labour costs.
This system maximises recycling rates, ensuring that used containers don't end up in the landfill and are repurposed into new bottles and cans.
These machines are adapted to each store, and all newly opened stores will have necessary infrastructure to collect plastic, glass, or metal packaging.
Elsewhere, Carrefour has installed DRS collection points at over 430 stores in Romania. The retailer will refund DRS deposits in cash or as a voucher in the Carrefour app, which can be used for future shopping sessions, both in physical stores and online.
Kaufland has also rolled out DRS automatic collection machines in the parking lots of its stores across Romania.
From 6-12 December, all those bringing five or more containers to the recycling machines will receive a 10% discount voucher on items marked with the 'recycle and save" symbol.