Breaking news: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestlé back deposit return on plastic bottles all over Europe

by Rob Buurman | 25 September 2020

They do so through an opinion published on the Euractiv website today. “This is a historic breakthrough in the debate on deposit return systems,” environmental organization Recycling Netwerk Benelux says with delight.

“NMWE and UNESDA believe that well-designed Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) could hold the key – and a growing number of EU member states are coming to the same conclusion and considering their introduction. Coca-Cola European Partners SVP Public Affairs and Government Relations, Hans van Bochove, also agrees that “Well designed DRS would enable the EU to reach its collection targets for beverage bottles faster – and would also secure the food-grade quality rPET that our beverage industries need. In delivering closed loop recycling, DRS would also reduce the quantity of virgin materials needed – thereby lowering the EU’s CO2 footprint and contributing towards its climate objectives.”, says the open letter from NMWE and UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe.

NMWE (previously EFBW) represents more than 500 European bottled water producers. UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe represents soft drink producers operating in Europe, including Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Danone, Nestlé Waters and Red Bull.

“This is a historic breakthrough”, Recycling Netwerk Benelux reacts. “Five years ago, all beverage producers were still traditionally opposing a deposit on plastic bottles. As a result, some European governments have shown reluctance to implement this environmental measure. Now that the companies involved are themselves calling for a deposit return system, there is no longer any reason to hesitate. A deposit return system reduces the number of plastic bottles in the environment by 70 to 90 percent. For the governments of countries such as France, Spain and Belgium, this has to be the starting signal to finally lay down national legislation on DRS,” says the environmental organization.

“We have always explained that the European target of 90% separate collection for plastic bottles, as set out in the Single Use Plastic Directive, can only be achieved by means of deposit return systems. And today the beverage producers themselves also publicly state that they need DRS to live up to the European legal obligations. That really is a game changer. ”

Eight European countries have had a deposit return system for plastic bottles and cans for many years. In the past four years, another ten European governments took the decision to introduce or expand their national deposit return schemes. Two days ago, Recycling Netwerk Benelux published the analysis that beverage producers are becoming increasingly positive towards DRS. “But with this statement, they made it absolutely clear to national governments that they fully support deposit return systems for plastic bottles”, the environmental organization concludes.

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