We have been commissioned by the Institut Cirkulární Ekonomiky (INCIEN) and beverage company Mattonito design and model a deposit return scheme (DRS) for disposable beverage containers in the Czech Republic.

Currently, over 12 million single-use plastic beverage containers are bought in the Czech Republic each year. The country’s current general PET recycling rate is 54%: Mattoni, the largest producer of mineral and spring water in the country, and INCIEN, the Czech Institute of Circular Economics, commissioned the work to understand how a DRS can best be used to boost capture rates and enable increased bottle to bottle ‘closed loop’ recycling, and bring the PET beverage container recycling rate up to 90%. A DRS involves the payment of a small deposit on purchase, which is refunded when the used beverage container is returned.

We have carried out a body of research into the different design features and associated impacts of deposit refund systems, primarily in Europe and North America. Well-designed schemes drastically reduce the littering of deposit bearing items, with a 95% decrease in littering of beverage containers, resulting in a 30% littering reduction overall.

Our consultants will review best practice across systems in other countries to identify the most effective design options for the Czech Republic, considering local circumstances. The project will also model the financial costs of two different systems: one that includes just PET drinks bottles, and another where the DRS includes both PET and aluminium drinks cans. The financial modelling will provide an indication of the likely costs to beverage producers, and how these can be minimised, which is a key step in the process of implementing the scheme.

The final report will be presented to INCIEN and Mattoni in autumn 2018.

Project Director, Chris Sherrington, said:

“It’s really encouraging that Mattoni, as a prominent beverage company, is taking a lead in exploring how an efficient deposit system could be implemented in the Czech Republic. Our research shows that a DRS, if properly designed, is the most effective way to improve beverage container recycling rates, reduce the extent to which they are littered and provide high quality secondary material to enable producers to meet their recycled content commitments. Mattoni has a very positive partnership with INCIEN and we are pleased to be working with them both, using our wealth of experience to design a DRS that will contribute towards the Czech Republic meeting the new recycling targets in the EU’s Circular Economy Package.”