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Deposit return schemes: launched in Romania and Hungary  

7 February 2024

Two member states, Romania and Hungary, have introduced deposit return schemes (DRS) for single-use bottles on 01 December 2023 and 01 January 2024 respectively. This makes the two countries part of a group of 13 EU states that now operate related DRS.

According to the operators, Romania’s system will be one of the most comprehensive and complexly integrated DRS in the world. The system is operated by a consortium of private companies and the Romanian government, and is expected to handle up to seven billion beverage bottles per year. The system covers bottles with a capacity of 0.1 to 3 litres and costs the consumer 0.5 Romanian lei per bottle (equivalent to approximately 0.10 euros).

In Hungary, the deposit costs are 50 Hungarian forints (approximately 0.13 euros) for all aluminium, glass or plastic bottles with the exception of milk or milk-based products. The system was designed by the public authority, MOL. In the future, bottles can be returned automatically in all stores in Hungary with an area of 400 square meters or more.