The first deposit system was introduced in Dublin more than 200 years ago. So it is far from new. Additional value is given to the packaging, which acts as an incentive for consumers to return it to the store, from where it can be recycled or reused. This system has proven to reduce litter and increase the consistency of high-quality recycling and separate collection. Every reason for us to make this the standard!

Deposit money – what exactly are we talking about?

In many countries, deposits are an environmental measure as old as time itself. It is one of the quickest and easiest measures to reduce packaging in litter, improve recycling and switch to reuse. You go to the store, pay a deposit for your drink and get it back when you return it to the store. A no brainer, right?

If only it were that simple. In both the Netherlands and Belgium, there was strong industry and government resistance to progress in this area. In the Netherlands, the system has finally been extended to small plastic bottles (July 2021) and cans (April 2023). Belgium has yet to introduce it.



A deposit system for large plastic bottles has been in place in the Netherlands for almost a decade, but our team has been helping to extend it to small plastic bottles in July 2021 and cans in April 2023. Litter results were quick. We are now working to improve the system so that it can reap the benefits we see in other countries.


In Belgium, there is a voluntary deposit on reusable beer bottles, but no system yet for plastic bottles and cans. The Belgian industry has traditionally opposed the introduction of deposits on plastic bottles and cans. Regional governments, however, with our support, have opened the door to this environmental measure. And although the decision is pending, support for deposits is growing. 3 Belgians out of 4 want a deposit system on plastic bottles and cans. Therefore, we are working with consumer organizations, environmental NGOs and even farmer organizations to implement the system at the national level.


The Deposit Money Alliance is fighting for the introduction of a deposit system in both the Netherlands and Belgium. More than 1,300 partners, including hundreds of municipalities, banks, farmer and consumer organizations and NGOs support the introduction of such a system in both the Netherlands and Belgium, under the motto “Yes We Can!”


With our expertise gained from years of working on this topic, we are also involved at the European level. Through the mandatory introduction of deposits in the upcoming Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation and by leading a task force within the Break Free From Plastic movement, we aim to promote deposits in all European countries.

Deposit money as a stepping stone to reuse

Last but not least, we do not see the introduction of deposits on single-use as an end goal. Not even nearby! It is an incentive that, with the right policies, such as taxation, can pave the way to reuse systems. Once the positive behavior of returning packaging is achieved, it is easier to switch to reusable or refillable packaging and end the era of single use

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

@ET-DC@eyJkeW5hbWljIjp0cnVlLCJjb250ZW50IjoicG9zdF90aXRsZSIsInNldHRpbmdzIjp7ImJlZm9yZSI6IiIsImFmdGVyIjoiIn19@ 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

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The Project Deposit team

Karl Beerenfenger

Project Officer Mission Reuse and Beeping

Karl Beerenfenger

Project Officer Mission Reuse and Beeping

Karl Beerenfenger

Project Officer Mission Reuse and Beeping

Karl Beerenfenger

Project Officer Mission Reuse and Beeping