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European Commission proposes EU-wide can deposit refund scheme

A consultation launched by the European Commission has proposed a Europe-wide beverage can deposit refund scheme, as part of a study to address cross-border operational issues for can collection systems.

According to the consultation document, problems can occur when metal beverage cans are moved between countries which both have a deposit refund scheme. It is thought that no country accepts cans bearing a deposit made in another country, and redeems it when returned away from the country it came from.

The movement of cans across borders, known as the border shopping trade, also increases the magnitude of the problem of incompatible cans arriving in a country’s waste system, because of price differentials or the lack of a deposit scheme.

The document warns: “The border shopping trade is, in turn, a source of interoperability issues, because non-national beverage cans are not compatible with the national waste collection system in the country where the beverage is consumed. The result can be lower levels of recycling and higher levels of littering arising from cans purchased in the border shopping trade.”

The consultation, which has been led by Eunomia Research and Consulting, proposes a single, centrally operated deposit refund scheme which would operate across Europe, so that deposits are redeemable in any country. Other consultation proposals include reconfiguring all deposit systems into a single scheme and bilateral agreements between countries.

The consultation runs until 18 October 2011.



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