50 organizations advocate for effective DRS in the PPWR  

by Chloe Schwizgebel | 11 December 2023

While the negotiations about the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) are still open, fifty organizations from 13 European countries make a call for the implementation of a solid and effective Deposit Return System (DRS) for beverage containers in all members states. 

In the context of the climate and resource crisis, and given the ambition of the EU, a broad platform of almost fifty organizations from 13 European countries wants to remind the Council representatives that there is still time to raise the ambition of the final PPWR wording. This can be done, among others, by assuring the key role of a solid Deposit Return System (DRS), a necessary tool to ensure true circularity for single-use beverage containers.  

It is worth noting that in the Plenary, all amendments aimed at making DRS voluntary for Members States were rejected by the European Parliament (EP), showing a firm position of the EP, in line with the original proposal by the European Commission, to have DRS become the norm in Europe. However, the wording of article 44 on DRS, as a result of the EP’s vote, lacks the ambition and the strength of the initial wording of the Commission and could open the door to critical shortcuts and loopholes that could delay the implementation of DRS all over Europe.  

This group of organizations, that already presented a joint position paper previous to the vote on the Plenary, asks for a final version of the PPWR that protects a proven-to-be-effective DRS by: 

  • Raising back the threshold for exemption from adopting national DRSs to a 90% collection rate instead of the 85% in the text proposed by the Parliament 
  • Phasing out any escape route to countries opposing the introduction of a DRS such as the possibility of presenting a ‘plan of action’ to reach the 85% target while ignoring the spirit of the legislation and the targets already fixed in the SUP directive. 
  • Avoiding any mention of ‘digital’ DRS’s, which is an alternative proposed – but not implemented anywhere – made up by industry to avoid the real implementation of proven DRS. 

Why do we need a solid and effective DRS?

  • It is the only measure assuring separate collection rates of beverage containers above 90%; 
  • The collection of high-quality materials allows for both: 
  • Closed-loop recycling (packaging-to-packaging) given maximized use of materials; 
  • Compatibility with reuse schemes (by enabling the infrastructure of such schemes) which supports compliance with the reuse targets proposed by the PPWR itself; 
  • It minimises littering of beverage containers, contributing to reduced costs for local authorities and reduced leakage of resources from circular management.

Alexis Eisenberg, Director France and Francophonie, Reloop Platform (France):
“The European Commission and Parliament endorse mandatory DRS in the PPWR, a pivotal text shaping the next decade of Europe’s packaging sector. DRS, a potent EPR tool, achieves high collection rates, closed-loop recycling, and reuse. The Council must now strengthen this support, with a crucial call from France to join the cause. Despite having DRS provisions in its anti-waste law (AGEC, 2020), France has struggled to break the status quo, leading to 8 billion plastic bottles and cans wasted per year. It’s time to propel mandatory DRS for a more circular Europe”

Chloé Schwizgebel, project coordinator at Recycling Netwerk Benelux (Belgium):
“A strong DRS legislation in the PPWR is fully aligned with the large ambitions of Belgium in terms of recycling, prevention, reuse as well as litter reduction. The Belgian governments are themselves preparing for the introduction of a DRS in 2025. Going for anything else than a mandatory DRS would not make sense from the Belgian presidency perspective.” 

Miquel Roset, director of Retorna (Spain):
“The Spanish presidency and the permanent representatives from Spain need to keep fighting for the best possible outcome for the PPWR, as the Presidency has shown to aim for so far with a mandatory Deposit Return System. Without a DRS, every day in Spain, 35 million beverage containers  are either landfilled, incinerated or littered.  We support any effort by Spain to stick to such commitment and dismiss proposals to water ambition down. We need a DRS so we can reuse or recycle into new containers these containers”.     

Next steps in the process

Last 22nd of November, the European Parliament voted in their Plenary session an amended version of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), which will be the basis for the negotiatory position of the EP; concurrently, the Council is preparing its own position, which is due to be defined in the next few weeks. The Trilogue negotiations, expected to start in December, will be the last stop for this legislation. 


Chloé Schwizgebel – chloe@fairresourcefoundation.org – +31 6 43 28 82 31
Alexis Eisenberg – alexis.eisenberg@reloopplatform.org 
Miquel Roset – miquel.roset@retorna.org 

Download the position paper

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[Position paper] On the road to ambitious Deposit Return Systems all over Europe

[Position paper] On the road to ambitious Deposit Return Systems all over Europe

While the general ambitions of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), especially regarding the reuse targets, have been largely watered down by industry lobbies, we do still welcome the direction given to DRS in the new revision of the PPWR. With this joint letter – signed by 50 European organizations – we comment on the regulation, which consecrates DRS as a solution to increase selective collection, foster reuse and harmonize beverage packaging collection in Europe.

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