“This is a breakthrough in the battle against littered plastic bottles and cans”, says environmental NGO Recycling Netwerk Benelux.

The new coalition agreement text is very clear on the subject: “The Government will introduce a deposit-return system on beverage cans and plastic bottles” (page 105 of the coalition agreement).

The Brussels coalition of social-democrats (PS and one.brussels), Greens (Ecolo and Groen) and liberals (Défi and Open VLD) is the first regional government that has been formed after the Belgian elections of May 26th.

Plastic bottles and cans make up 40% of the litter in volume. Deposit-return systems reduce the presence of these beverage packagings in litter by 70 to 90 percent. “This decision of the Brussels government is therefore a very important one. A deposit-return system is highly effective in realising and maintaining a cleaner city”, Recycling Netwerk says.

Beverage companies and supermarkets

Earlier this month, the French government announced a deposit-return system. The proposal got the support of the French branches of the major beverage companies, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestlé and Danone, and French supermarkets including Carrefour, Aldi and Lidl. They announced their support for a deposit-return system through an open letter of their federations in the French national newspaper Journal du Dimanche.

“We invite Belgian beverage companies and supermarkets to do the same. The path towards a circular economy needs the collaboration of companies. Hence, we invite them to clearly state their support for a deposit-return system in Brussels and Belgium”, Recycling Netwerk concludes.